Mon 28 Feb 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
February 27: At least nine ethnic Shan politicians arrested in early February are to be charged Tuesday, according to a senior ethnic leader. They are expected to face charges of treason-with a maximum life sentence-and defamation of the state.
Those arrested include Hkun Htun Oo and Sai Nyunt Lwin, chairman and general-secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, or SNLD, and Maj-Gen Sao Hso Ten, president of the Shan State Peace Council. TheyÂ are to be tried tomorrow in Insein Prison, on the outskirts Rangoon, said Fu Cin Sian Thang, a member of the Shan Committee Representing the People’s Parliament, which is closely allied to the SNLD.
â€œIn my view, they didn’t commit any crime,â€ he added. â€œBut I still think they will definitely be imprisoned.â€
Aung Thein, a legal expert from the leading opposition National League for Democracy, or NLD, said Monday that family members of Hkun Htun Oo and Sai Nyunt Lwin have sought legal assistance from him. A four-member NLD legal team will provide legal aid.
Several ethnic Shan leaders were arrested on the eve of the reconvening of the regime’s constitution-drafting National Convention on February 17. Others arrested included 82-year-old Shan politician Shwe Ohn, as well as Sao Hso Ten, Hkun Htun Oo, and Sai Nyunt Lwin.
Although the real reason for the arrests is unknown, it is thought to be linked to a meeting between opposition and ethnic leaders held in Shan State in early February. Shan delegates from the Shan State Army (North) and the Shan State Nationalities Army who attended the previous session of the National Convention boycotted this year’s assembly because of the arrests of the Shan leaders.