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Letpadan defendants revoke power of attorney

File photo of activists being escorted to Tharrawaddy courthouse for a prior hearing. (PHOTO: DVB)

Eight students and activists detained for their involvement in the Letpadan education reform protests have revoked their lawyers’ power of attorney rights, declaring they have no confidence in the judicial system.

The group is standing trial in Tharrawaddy courthouse, Pegu [Bago] Division.

Hla Myo Myint, a defence lawyer for the students at the 27 October hearing, said: “The defendants, led by [activist] Ko Than Htike, presented a letter revoking the power of attorney, due to a lack of confidence in the judicial system and the court, before walking out.”

The eight defendants who withdrew power of attorney are: All-Burma Federation of Student Unions members Than Htike, Swe Lin Htun, Myo Htet Paing and Khant Aung, as well as civilian activists Myo Myat San, Ko Thein and Myat Soe Oo.

At the same hearing, defendant Nyein Kyaw Thu was granted bail to receive neurological treatment.

Fellow detainee and student leader Aung Hmine San, who has been staging a hunger strike while calling for the release of the detained activists, also appeared at the Tuesday’s trial. He appeared in good health and vowed to continue the fast until the group and all other student detainees are released.

On the same day, student activists Zeya Lwin and Paing Ye Thu appeared at a hearing at Kyauktada Township court. The pair are facing charges for staging a protest in Rangoon – calling for constitutional reform and the removal of military representatives from parliament. Their case has been transferred to a separate townships’ court, according to their lawyer Kyay Hoe.

“The Kyauktada Township court has transferred my clients’ cases to Pabedan Township court, and scheduled the date for 3 November,” Kyaw Hoe sad.

Fifty-four students remain detained at Tharrawaddy prison, according to an Amnesty International report. The NGO has called on Burma’s government to release the ‘prisoners of conscience’ immediately.

Read more about the jailed Letpadan activists here.