ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM-BURMA: Licences of lawyers revoked for merely representing their clients’ wishes


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-062-2009

22 June 2009
BURMA: Licences of lawyers revoked for merely representing their clients’ wishes

ISSUES: Rule of law; military government; judicial system



Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has previously reported on the case of two human rights lawyers who were sentenced to four months’ imprisonment each for contempt of court, because they withdrew their powers of attorney on the wishes of clients who cited the reason as a lack of faith in Burma’s judicial system. Now we regret to inform you that the licences of both lawyers have been revoked in a similarly unlawful manner.


The AHRC has documented in detail the contempt of court case against and imprisonment of Supreme Court lawyers U Khin Maung Shein and U Aung Thein in September 2008 after they submitted letters to a court withdrawing their powers of attorney citing their clients statements that they had “no longer had faith in the judicial process”. The judge attributed the statement to the lawyers rather than their clients and brought a charge of contempt against them. In November the two were found guilty without being able to defend themselves, and were sent to prisons far from their homes in Rangoon. They were released in March 2009.

In May the two rights lawyers were sent a copy of an order disbarring them from practice as lawyers. Ironically, the law revoked their licences under terms of a law that also should entitle them to tribunal hearings, and again, guarantees the right to present a defence in any disciplinary proceedings, which the two were denied.

Full details of the case are available at: Additional details also are contained in the sample letter, below.


The AHRC has been documenting numerous cases speaking to what it has described as Burma’s “injustice system” and Urgent Appeals on many of these can be accessed by going to the appeals’ page and entering “Burma” into the search box: Two special reports have also been issued in the article 2 periodical, “Saffron Revolution imprisoned, law denied” (vol. 7, no. 3, September 2008) and “Burma, political psychosis and legal dementia” (vol. 6, no. 5-6, December 2007)

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