High Level Panel raises concerns regarding gagging of lawyers in Myanmar

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Image credit: 360b / Shutterstock.com (left) wikimedia.org/Pete Souza (right)

On 27 October 2021, members of the High Level Panel, consisting of prominent lawyers, raised concerns about recent reports of lawyers representing several political leaders in Myanmar being barred from speaking about the trials.  
On 15 October 2021, Reuters reported that the authorities in Myanmar had imposed a gagging order on Khin Maung Zaw, the lead lawyer representing Myanmar's ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,  barring him from speaking to media, diplomats, international organisations and foreign governments. On 27 October 2021, The Guardian reported that the authorities in Myanmar had imposed gagging orders on all her defence lawyers. These accounts suggest a further blow to the accused’s rights and to the legal profession in Myanmar. They also suggest a breach of accepted international standards, about which the Panel is seriously concerned. 
The High Level Panel was established in July 2021 to review the trials of high-profile political leaders in Myanmar, including State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, who were arrested on 1 February 2021 and subsequently deposed. The criminal proceedings against them are at the inquiry stage and they face multiple charges in courts across three towns. 
On 30 September 2021, the Panel raised concerns about the fairness of the trials of political leaders in Myanmar, including reports of the accused being denied their rights to be informed of the charges against them; to have the effective assistance of defence counsel; and to be tried in public.  
The Panel’s requests to the Court to facilitate its trial review did not receive any answer.  
The Panel renews its call for the authorities and the Court in Myanmar to ensure and demonstrate openly that fair trial standards are met.  


Notes to the Editor​​​​​​​

  1. Related material: ​​​​​​​High Level Panel raises concerns regarding the trials of political leaders in Myanmar
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