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A hearing for education law protestors at Tharawaddy district court in Pegu Division was postponed on Tuesday after one of the defendants coughed up blood and collapsed as he was being brought to the courtroom.
Robert San Aung, a lawyer representing some of the activists, who were mostly arrested following a sit-in in Letpadan on 10 March which was brutally suppressed by riot police, told DVB that Khine Hlaing, 25, from North Okkalapa in Rangoon, collapsed in the prison van while being escorted by guards towards the Tharawaddy court house.
“After he collapsed, Ko Khine Hlaing was first taken to Tharawaddy hospital. We went there to check on him and saw he had been coughing up blood. The left side of his chest was visibly swollen, and he had pain in his ribs, a shortness of breath and unstable blood pressure,” said Robert San Aung.
“Following recommendation by the hospital director, he was transferred to Rangoon General Hospital for further treatment.”
He said the court hearing was reappointed to 16 June, not only because of Khin Hlaing’s condition but due to other complications.
“The court was scheduled to hear the testimony of police chief Phone Myat, but it could not go ahead as not all the defendants were present.
Robert San Aung, who was shortlisted for a major international peace prize in January, said he still doubts the independence and impartiality of the court.
“The whole situation implies that the authorities have already taken the decision to jail them [68 students and activists in detention],” he told DVB on Tuesday.
At a previous hearing for students and activists in the same courthouse, a defendant named Tin Win collapsed and was rushed to Rangoon General Hospital where he later received neurological surgery for an injury allegedly sustained during the police crackdown in Letpadan on 10 March.
The 68 detainees from the crackdown stand accused of charges ranging from disturbing the peace to rioting to sedition.
INTERACTIVE MAP: Chronology of the student protests