Students’ trial moved to Tharawaddy prison

Students’ trial moved to Tharawaddy prison

Seventy education reform activists appeared in Letpadan court on Thursday for their third-pre trial hearing.

The accused are standing trial for their involvement in the education protest in the Pegu Division town of Letpadan last month that ended in a violent crackdown by police.

The judge announced a decision to move the trial to Tharawaddy prison, as had been proposed by prosecutors in previous hearings, according to defense lawyer Robert San Aung. The defendants are currently being held in that facility.

“The judge accepted a proposal by the prosecutors that the trial be relocated,” said Robert San Aung.

No hearing of the charges was made.

One defendant told DVB of the poor conditions in the prison.

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“There is unclean water in the prison, and many of us have caught scabies. Sandflies breed in the dirty water and bite us all night, keeping us up. The conditions here are terrible,” said the student.

Around 70 protestors are standing trial on five charges each, including rioting and disturbing the peace. Some are also facing additional charges in other townships.

The activists were arrested after staging a sit-in in Letpadan after their route to Rangoon was blocked by police. Theirs were part of a nationwide series of marches organised to protest the National Education Law, which reformists say stifles educational freedom.

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