NLD member to be tried in January

Dec 28, 2007 (DVB), National League for Democracy member Ko Thein Swe could face a long-term jail sentence when he is charged with six offences at Bahan court on 2 January.

Ko Thein Swe was arrested at his house in Phyar Pon township, Irrawaddy division, on the evening of 22 October in connection with the public demonstrations in September and is being held in Insein prison in Rangoon.

Ko Thein Swe's father U Myint Swe, a people's parliament representative from Phyar Pon township met his son during a prison visit at Insein on 24 December and said he would be brought to court on 2 January.

Ko Thein Swe told his father he was visited on 19 December by a police officer, a judge from Bahan court and a legal advisor from Insein prison who informed him that he would be face six charges.

He is to be charged under sections 143 and 145 of the penal code on unlawful assembly, which could lead to a jail term of up to two years, under section 147 for rioting, which carries a two-year sentence, and under section 505 (b) for incitement of offences against the state, which could lead to two years' imprisonment.

He is also being charged under section 124 for not disclosing information on high treason to the authorities, which carries a seven-year penalty.

In addition to the charges related to the protests, an additional and unrelated charge of selling pornographic materials under obscenity laws in section 292 has also been added.

Ko Thein Swe's mother Daw Sein Te said she was very disappointed with the charges.

"My son has been accused of some ridiculous things," she said.

"Some of these six charges against him could result in him spending a long time in prison."

NLD lawyer U Aung Thein said that a township-level court did not have the authority to try a case with such serious penalties, and that it should be decided at a higher level.

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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