The political prisoner advocate group, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), released a statement last Friday requesting the Burma government drop charges against jailed KNU leader, Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung.
AAPP’s statement asked for the U Thein Sein government to “drop the spurious and trumped-up charges recently brought against a prominent Karen leader, a member of the Karen National Union Central Committee, who is currently under trial facing charges under High Treason (122/1 of the penal code) and the Unlawful Associations Act (17/1).”
AAPP explain in their statement that “both charges carry heavy sentences that are unwarranted in Mahn Nyein Maung’s case: High Treason carries a sentence of life imprisonment and the death penalty and the Unlawful Associations Act carries a sentence of 2 to 7 year imprisonment.”
The court will deliver its verdict on Mahn Nyein Maung’s case on Tuesday 13th March 2012.
AAPP alleged the charges against Mahn Nyein Maung are unjust and are “the latest in a string of human rights violations brought against him since his unlawful arrest in July 2011 while visiting China.”
Mahn Nyein Maung was arrested in Kunming, Yunnan Province, by Chinese officials and deported back to Rangoon. AAPP says Mahn Nyein Maung was “sentenced to 6 months under section 13/1 of the Immigration Act and Article 468 for having a forged travel document.”
Mahn Nyein Maung appeared in Insein Prison Court on the 2nd of February 2012 under the more serious charges of High Treason and the Unlawful Association Act.
AAPP claim this has caused Mahn Nyein Maung “‘mental torture, as he was told he would be granted his freedom as a peace offering if he aided in the ceasefire negotiations with the Karen National Union.”
AAPP says despite Mahn Nyein Maung agreeing to help in the talks, “the authorities retracted on their word and punished him with additional charges. This treatment of Mahn Nyein Maung infringes on his most fundamental rights as no human life should be subject to barter or have their freedom compromised.”
AAPP called on the President of Burma to drop the charges “against Mahn Nyein Maung, and confer on him his basic rights as a human and detainee, which include a right to a free and fair trial.”
AAPP warn that by “continuing to hold Mahn Nyein Maung behind bars and making false claims to the media about his potential freedom is an act that seriously disrupts trust among the ethnic minorities and will have a harmful impact on national reconciliation.”