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Latpadaung protestor sentenced to two years for sedition

Naw Ohn Hla was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with labour under a charge of sedition in a highly controversial trial in Monywa on Thursday.

The veteran activist and former political prisoner had been arrested in mid-August for organising a public protest in the Sagaing division capital against the Latpadaung copper mining project.

Her lawyer Robert San Aung said she was sentenced under Article 505(b) of the penal code for sedition in a trial at Monywa township court that began on Tuesday.

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He said he was unable to attend the hearing on Thursday and that Naw Ohn Hla had refused to appear in court without the representation of her lawyer. She was subsequently dragged into the courtroom by female police officials.

He slammed the trial as unfair and condemned the court for sentencing her without the presence of a defence lawyer.

“She refused to leave the holding cell in protest at being tried without a legal defence,” he said. “Female police officers were ordered to drag her into court where sentence was passed. It is highly questionable whether this procedure represents a fair trial.”

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