ABFSU member's parents prosecuted

Dec 17, 2007 (DVB), The parents of an All-Burmese Federation of Student Unions committee member have been charged and denied bail after refusing to assist government officials who came to arrest their son.

U Peter and Daw Nu Nu Swe, the parents of ABFSU member Ko Si Thu Maung, were arrested by Hlaing township police after they refused to open the door to police officers who came to their house to search for their son without a warrant.

The police failed to arrest Si Thu Mang that night, but he was later detained.

U Peter and Daw Nu Nu Swe were charged by the township police chief with harassing government officers on duty, obscenity and upsetting the stability of the state.

Their lawyer U Pho Phyu said that Hlaing township court had changed the original charges into more serious ones to make sure the couple will not be released on bail.

"The obscenity charge under section 294 of the penal code was changed to section 505 for creating public unrest. This was based on advice given by the court's legal advisor to make sure they will not be released on bail," he said.

U Pho Phyu said that several applications for bail made by the couple have been turned down.

He also complained that witnesses for the defence had not been given enough time to submit their defendant form 104 at the court and so were unable to attend the two previous court hearings.

"The charges were filed against them on 19 November and the court hearing started on 21 November, so there was no time for us to prepare anything," U Pho Phyu said.

Despite the lack of defence witnesses, U Pho Phyu said that evidence from a witness for the prosecution had shown that the police did not have the right to enter the couple's property.

"At the court hearing on 6 December, testimony from a prosecution witness, who is a ward Peace and Development Council official, made it clear that the police showed up at the house with no WPDC officials present," he said.

U Peter and Daw Nu Nu Swe are being held at Insein prison in Rangoon. Their next court appointment is on Monday.

Si Thu Maung was arrested in mid-October and has also been held at Insein prison.

Reporting by DVB

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