NLD youth member appears in court

Jan 28, 2008 (DVB), A National League for Democracy youth member, who was shot and injured during the protests last September, appeared before Kyauktada magistrates' court on 22 January, according to lawyer U Aung Thein.

Thingangyun NLD youth member Mya Than Htike was charged with unlawful assembly and offences against the public tranquility under sections 145 and 505(b) of the penal code.

Kyauktada police inspector Soe Naing claimed that troops had been sent in during the protests to prevent riots and had had to use force when demonstrators refused to obey orders to disperse.

Soe Naing told the court that Mya Than Htike was at the front of the demonstrations when the troops began to use force.

U Aung Thein, Mya Than Htike's defence lawyer, challenged Soe Naing's version of events, saying that Mya Than Htike was walking away from the scene when he was shot.

"Were you aware that Ko Mya Than Htike was shot at when he had his back turned to the soldiers and was walking away from them?" U Aung Thain asked Soe Naing.

"He was not at the front, he was not facing the soldiers. He had turned his back to the soldiers and was walking away from them while the security forces shot him from the military truck. Did you know that?" he asked.

Soe Naing responded only that he "knew that [Mya Than Htike] was in hospital".

The trial will resume on 29 January when U Aung Thein will question prosecution witnesses.

U Aung Thein is handling at least four cases representing defendants who were charged in connection with the September protests.

Reporting by Aye Aye Mon

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