A juvenile who was among the education activists arrested in the police crackdown on protestors in Letpadan on 10 March has been released on bail.
Sixteen-year-old Aung Min Khine, chairperson of the Shwebo District Basic Education Students Union, was granted bail in a court hearing on Tuesday due to his status as a minor.
“Of the 13 bail applicants, only I have been granted bail so far,” Aung Min Khine told DVB. “I was told I am to stand trial at a juvenile court as the charges have been upheld, including Article 505(b), and that I was granted bail because I am underage.”
Aung Min Khine said that he sustained injuries in the 10 March crackdown, some of which are yet to heal, including a head would.
Robert San Aung, a lawyer representing the defendants in the trial, said that according to the Burma’s Child Law, Aung Min Khine should be tried as a juvenile in a separate trial.
“As the accused is a juvenile, he should be dismissed from the adult trial, and stand in a separate trial at a juvenile court,” said Robert San Aung.
Families of the defendants, reporters and observers including German, French, EU and US representatives attended the hearing at Tharawaddy township court on Tuesday.
One hundred and twenty-seven people were arrested on 10 March after nationwide, student-led demonstrations against the National Education Law came to a head when a sit-in turned violent. Activists say that the law stifles economic freedom, and marches on Rangoon from all over the country were organised in protest.
After a series of negotiations between students and Naypyidaw representatives, an amendment bill was drawn up. Against the backdrop of the ongoing trial in Tharawaddy, activists reacted angrily to the passing of a heavily watered down bill by the parliamentary upper house at the end of March.