Skip to comments.Trial Date Set for Burmese 68
Posted on 08/13/2005 9:20:42 AM PDT by ZayYa
A team of Malaysian lawyers is urging the Attorney General to drop a case involving 64 Burmese activists arrested while demonstrating outside the Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur in June.
Latheefa Koya, one of the lawyers representing the detainees, confirmed that a formal request will be submitted as soon as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees confirms the activists as being persons of concern, refugees or asylum-seekers.
The 64 were arrested on June 16 in front of the Malaysian capitals Burmese embassy, where they were demanding the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest in Rangoon. They face charges of unlawful assembly and immigration offenses, while a further four were arrested for not possessing official immigration while visiting the protestors in detention. All 68 pleaded not guilty at a hearing yesterday.
The trial had been scheduled for next year but has been brought forward to December 12 following a request from the defendants lawyers. The 68 are due to remain in prison until the trial, though Latheefa Koya told The Irrawaddy by phone that the court would be expected to take time already served into account when sentence is passed.
This is actually the second time the case has appeared in court. The first hearing had been fixed for July 26 but had to be postponed when a Burmese interpreter could not be found.
Meanwhile, reports are circulating which suggest mistreatment of the detainees. Latheefa said that one, by the name of Eric, was beaten so badly on July 14 that he could not urinate. He asked for a doctor. Instead he was sent to a dark room [solitary confinement] for another 8 days.
Malaysia has yet to become a signatory to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.