Thursday, 3 January 2008

Hle' Dan 5's Charges Have Been Changed

2nd January 2008
Original report by Aye Nai, DVB

Charges against protesters Ko Than Zaw Myint, Ko San Win, Ko Thant Zin Myo , Ko Kyaw Soe Win, and one unnamed protester, known as Hle' Dan 5 had been changed, on the day they were due to appear before court, it is reported.

They were all arrested by Union Solidarity and Development Association and Swan Arr Shin members, who used extreme violence on 28 August at Hle' Dan junction, Kamar Yut, Rangoon. Their 'crime' was to join a protest against the increase in fuel prices, and were subsequently charged under sections 505 (b) and 147 of the penal code.

Section 505 (b) outlaws incitement to offences against the public tranquility and carries a maximum two-year prison sentence, while section 147 covers rioting and also mandates up to two years imprisonment.

However, on 31 December, the day the five were due to appear before court, they were visited by a judge in their prison cells, and told that the charges against them have now been changed. Instead of section 147, they are now charged under section 143: for acting and participating in an illegal organisation. The trial will be on 14 January.

Ko Than Zaw Myint, who was being punched and beaten during the arrest, has sustained an eye injury. His father, U Tin Yu said he will file charges against USDA and Swan Arr Shin members for unlawfully arresting his son and also sending a letter of complaint about the incident to junta leader senior general Than Shwe.

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