Burmese-American Activist Files Appeal

(Irrawaddy) A lawyer for detained Burmese-American activist Nyi Nyi Aung filed an appeal against his three-year prison sentence today after completing a review of a decision reached by a special court at Rangoon’s Insein Prison in February.

Nyi Nyi Aung’s lawyer, Nyan Win, told The Irrawaddy that the appeal was submitted to the Rangoon Division Court and was now awaiting a response.

“Today I sent the appeal documents, and next we have to make arguments for acceptance of the appeal. If the court accepts, we have to make our final arguments about one month from now,” he said.

Nyi Nyi Aung was sentenced under Article 468 of the Penal Code for possessing a fake Burmese ID card and Article 24/1 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act for illegal possession of a foreign currency. He was also found guilty of failing to renounce his Burmese citizenship.

On March 12, US Embassy Consular Chief Colin Furst and another embassy official were permitted to meet with Nyi Nyi Aung at Pyay Prison, according to reports in Burma’s state-run newspapers today.

Nyi Nyi Aung, 40, was arrested by Burmese authorities on Sept. 3 last year after arriving at Rangoon’s international airport on a flight from Bangkok. A political refugee who resettled in the US in 1993, he returned to Burma to visit his mother, who is also a political prisoner.

He was tortured while undergoing interrogation at Insein prison and last December launched a hunger strike to protest against conditions for political prisoners.

Nyi Nyi Aung was a student activist during Burma’s 1988 pro-democracy uprising. He later fled to the Thai-Burmese border and was subsequently granted political asylum in the US.

His mother, San San Tin, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for participating in anti-government demonstrations in September 2007. His cousin, Thet Thet Aung, is serving a 65-year prison sentence for her involvement in the same protests.

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