Re: Mr. U Aye Myint, Human Rights Lawyer
To: Senior General Than Shwe, Ministry of Defence
From: Paul Copeland, LRWC
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) is a committee of Canadian lawyers providing support internationally to advocates whose rights, safety, or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy.
We are writing to express our grave concern for the health of U Aye Myint, who is currently incarcerated at Pegu Prison. U Aye Myint was sentenced to seven years in prison on Oct. 31, 2005, for allegedly providing false information to the International Labour Organisation. U Aye Myint, a lawyer, represented farmers in Phaungdawthi who claimed their lands had been confiscated illegally. Witnesses at U Aye Myint’s trial report that he was acting within his professional capacity and is guilty of no wrongdoing.
According to reports released in Dec. 2005, U Aye Myint’s son, Nyo Lin Maung said his father was suffering from anemia and described his condition as “very weak,” elaborating that his father walked “shakily” but was afraid to talk about his deteriorating health.
We are concerned that U Aye Myint’s poor health is a direct result of his incarceration. We urge you to ensure that U Aye Myint receive proper treatment for his medical conditions.
United Nations documents including the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the Basic Principles of the Treatment of Prisoners and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment establish guidelines for the treatment of prisoners, based on the precept that all prisoners retain their fundamental human rights. According to these guidelines, the Myanmar government has a responsibility to provide any person detained or incarcerated with timely, professional and appropriate medical care.
This is the third time Lawyers Rights Watch Canada has written to the Myanmar government regarding U Aye Myint since the beginning of Oct. 2005. As yet, we have not received any acknowledgement of the previous inquiries we made regarding the nature of charges against U Aye Myint and our concerns around his trial and sentencing.
We look forward to receiving your advice on the action the Myanmar government is taking to investigate the detention, trial, and sentencing of U Aye Myint, as well as your assurances that U Aye Myint’s health conditions are being properly dealt with by trained professionals.
LRWC awaits your response by return mail, fax or email. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.