NLD members charged with causing public alarm

Jul 17, 2008 (DVB), Fourteen National League for Democracy members arrested in front of the party headquarters on 19 June made their second appearance before Bahan township court yesterday.

The group has been detained in Insein prison after being beaten up and arrested by Union Solidarity and Development Association and Swan Arr Shin members while peacefully celebrating detained NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday.

Ko Aung Soe Min, the son of Ton Tay township NLD leader U Chin Khin who was among those arrested, said the 14 have been charged under sections 143 and 505(b) of the penal code, for joining an unlawful assembly and causing public alarm.

If they are found guilty, the defendants could each face up to two and a half years in prison.

Aung Soe Min said one member of the group, who is more than 80 years old, has been sent to the prison hospital after having health problems.

"The prison healthcare system is so horrible, with only one hour a day allowed for showering and exercise," said Aung Soe Min.

"Just one hour is not enough to keep a person in good health."

He said the group had been prohibited from receiving food and other items from their families by the Bahan township police special information force.

"Usually, according to the procedure, people who are facing charges have the right to meet their family and receive items from them on the court day," he said.

Ton Tay NLD member U Chit Baw, 65, has not been in good health, his wife said, and his family has been very worried about him.

"He has been very sick and we haven’t seen him for over a month," said his wife.

"The authorities said we were not allowed to go."

Aung Soe Min said the situation was an example of the government abusing its power.

"The government is claiming that they were giving us a chance to have a ‘disciplined democratic system’ in our country by promising elections and stuff , but in reality they are breaking the law themselves and committing inhumane acts," he said.

The fourteen detained are Rebert San Aung, Htun Myint and Soe Oak from Bahan, Kyaw Kyaw San from Nyaung Lay Pin, Thein Win from South Dagon, Maung Thein and Htay Aung from Mingalardon, Myint Swe from Kyi Myint Taing, Tin Ohn from Shwe Pyi Thar, Maung Sein and the monk U Sandimar from Hlaing, U Han Sein from Insein, and San Baw and Chit Khin from Ton Tay.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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