The United Nations have decided the Burmese military is violating international law by keeping James Mawdsley in prison. In a strongly-worded statement, the UN Commission on Human Rights' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Mr Mawdsley has been arbitrarily detained in violation of all international law. Mark Rowland of Jubilee Campaign, who are leading the campaign for Mr Mawdsley's release, said: "It is fantastic that the United Nations has condemned Burma's actions against James so categorically. This judgment should draw a clear line in the sand. James has been brutally beaten and spent over a year in solitary confinement because he dared to speak out about the genocide against the Karen and other ethnic minorities in Burma. This judgment gives the international community the ammunition it needs to demand his immediate release." The Working Group's judgment is based on the denial of Mr Mawdsley's right to have an open trial heard before an independent and impartial court, the failure of the Burmese regime to provide him a lawyer for his trial and their prosecution of Mr Mawdsley for expressing political opinions. Jared Genser, Mr Mawdsley's representative to the UN, made the complaint to the Working Group, in association with the Jubilee Campaign, last March. The Working Group is a five-member panel that hears and issues judgments on cases where the petitioners allege a lack of due process or other fundamental rights such as the rights to political expression. The complaint listed 10 separated violations of international law and called for Mr Mawdsley to be immediately deported. James, from Ormskirk, entered Burma legally and made his peaceful protest on 31 August last year against the junta's genocide of the Karen, Karenni and Shan ethnic minorities and the suppression of democracy in Burma. Over 30,000 Karen civilians have died as a direct or indirect result of Burmese military action military action since 1992 alone. For more information and a campaign pack for James, please contact Mark Rowland on 01483 894 787 or 07932 750 803, or Jared Genser on 001-734-764-9026, firstname.lastname@example.org
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