Fuel price protestors face new charges

Aug 13, 2008 (DVB), Eight students and human rights activists arrested during protests against fuel price hikes last year have had five further charges added to their original charge of sedition, said their family members.

The student activists and Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network members will now be charged under sections 143, 145, 147, 295(a) and 505(b) of the penal code.

Sections 143, 145 and 147, which relate to unlawful assembly and rioting, carry a potential combined prison sentence of up to four and a half years, while 295(a) on offences against religion and 505(b) on inciting offences against public tranquility each carry a maximum two-year term.

Along with the possible three-year sentence for sedition, this means the defendants could now face up to 11 and a half years' imprisonment each.

Ma Thi Thi Soe, sister of HRDP member Ko Myo Thant (also known as John Nawtha), said her brother and his co-defendants , Ko Zin Linn Aung, Ko Sithu Maung, Ko Thein Swe, Ko Ye Myant Hein, Ko Ye Min Oo and Ko Kyi Phyu , heard the new charges against them during a hearing at Insein prison yesterday.

Ko Myo Thant went on a hunger strike in March to protest against violations of inmates' rights in Insein prison.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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