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EXTERNAL                          AI Index: ASA 16/29/95
                                  23 November 1995
UA 261/95         Fear of torture / Legal concern
MYANMAR          Maung Aye   )     representatives of the
                 Toe Aung    )     National League for Democracy
                 Myo Zaw     )     (NLD) Youth
Amnesty International fears that three young men arrested in
Yangon on 18 November 1995 may be facing ill-treatment or torture
in detention and may have been arrested solely for exercising
their rights to freedom of expression and association.
All three are representatives of the National League for
Democracy (NLD) Youth. Maung Aye represents Yangon (Rangoon)
Division, Toe Aung represents  Tanintharyi (Tennasserim) and
Magway (Mergui) Divisions, and Myo Zaw represents Magway
On 18 November, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the NLD,
addressed a large crowd outside her house.  Such meetings have
been held every weekend since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release from
house arrest in July.  However, for the first time, police
officials were present and put up barbed-wire barricades to keep
the road outside the house clear.  As Daw Aung San Suu Kyi began
to speak from the house gates, people in the crowd ignored the
barricades and moved around them to get closer.  Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi asked for the barricades to be removed, but the police did
not respond.  Maung Aye, Toe Aung, Myo Zaw and one other person
then tried to talk to the police in order to have the barricades
removed.  At the end of the meeting the four young people were
arrested.  The unnamed detainee was subsequently released.
On 19 November Maung Aye, Toe Aung and Myo Zaw were charged with
allegedly assaulting police officials and preventing civil
servants from carrying out their duties.  The exact legislation
used is not known, but according to unofficial sources, the
allegations made against the three are exaggerated and are a
pretext to detain political activists. All three were reportedly 
tried on 20 November but the outcome of the trial is not known.
Torture and ill-treatment is common in Myanmar both during
interrogation and after sentencing. In addition, conditions in
the country's prisons fall far short of international minimum 
standards, with lack of access to proper medical treatment,
overcrowding, and insufficient food all concerns.
The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC, Myanmar's
military government) took power following the violent suppression
of widespread pro- democracy demonstrations in 1988. Hundreds of
people were killed during the military crackdown, with hundreds
more arrested and imprisoned in 1989. General elections held in
1990 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the NLD, the
political party founded by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However the
SLORC refused to hand over power and has continued to rule by
decree since 1988.  Freedom of expression, association and
assembly are severely restricted in Myanmar, and anyone
expressing opposition to the SLORC is at risk of arrest. Although
over 2000 political prisoners have reportedly been released since
April 1992, hundreds remain in prison. In the last 18 months,
prisoners have been given long sentences for allegedly passing on
information concerning the human rights situation in Myanmar to
foreign groups and individuals. 
In a press conference at her home on 22 November, Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi said that the NLD had not yet decided whether to boycott
or to attend the National Convention which is due to be
reconvened on 28 November. The National Convention was convened
by the SLORC in January 1993 in order to agree the basic
principles for a new constitution. In an NLD statement, Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi is reported as saying that "If the National
Convention continues in its present form it cannot assist in
achieving national reconciliation, genuine multi-party democracy,
or a state constitution that enjoys the support and confidence of
the people." 
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- seeking assurances that the treatment of Maung Aye, Toe Aung
and Myo Zaw conforms to international standards and that they are
being given proper access to family, lawyers of their own choice
and medical personnel;
- seeking information about the whereabouts of the three young
men, the exact charges against them, and prison sentences
- urging that if they have been arrested solely for exercising
their rights to freedom of expression and association, they
should be immediately and unconditionally released.
Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman
[Salutation: Dear General]
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Yangon, Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Than Shwe, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21316
Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, Secretary 1
[Salutation: Dear General]
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Yangon, Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, Yangon, Myanmar
Faxes: + 95 1 229 50
COPIES TO diplomatic representatives of Myanmar accredited to
your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Please do not send appeals after
8 January 1996.
+ If you have any queries about this Urgent Action or about +
+ the UA scheme in general, please contact:                 +
+   Ray Mitchell                                            +
+   Amnesty International British Section                   +
+   99 - 119 Rosebery Avenue                                +
+   London EC1R 4RE      email: rmitchellai@xxxxxxxxxx      +