Yangon, 12 August
Myanmar’s legal system has regressed to a more unjust legal system since the military coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and veteran lawyers.
According to AAPP’s “Anarchist Country” report published on 7 August, the military has complete authority over the legal system and continues to conduct unfair trials and convictions of political prisoners.
Veteran lawyer U Gyi Myint told Than Lwin Times that, “After the military coup, the judiciary is no longer completely fair, and people are being given maximum sentences without sufficient defense for serious crimes”.
U Tun Tun Oo, who served as the Union Chief Justice for two and a half years after a coup and two democratic governments, was forcibly retired on August 2 due to health reasons after the military council extended the state of emergency.
The military council used to interrogate those arrested for political crimes and then send the political prisoners to the township police station where they were first detained; in some cases, they were sent directly to prison. According to the released political prisoners, the police subsequently began the legal proceedings and held hearings in temporary special courts in prisons rather than district courts.
In townships where martial law was imposed, political prisoners were brought directly to military tribunals, and were denied the right to hire a lawyer.
According to the AAPP, the military regime still has complete control over the hiring of lawyers for detainees in civilian tribunals, implying that offenders do not receive a fair trial.
Veteran lawyer U Gyi Myint said, “The military and civilian judges take the accusations of the plaintiffs seriously, but they do not pay attention to the defenses of the defendants.”
The military has threatened to arrest human rights lawyers who provide legal services for any political crimes.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported that 54 lawyers were detained for assisting in political crimes under the military regime, and nine of them were sentenced to prison.
News – Than Lwin Times