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Student protestors face serious charges

Dec 28, 2007 (DVB), Four students who were arrested in connection with the September demonstrations are to be charged with six offences which could result in over twelve years in prison.

Ye Myat Hein, Sithu Maung, Ye Min Oo and Kyi Phyu are first-year mathematics students from West Rangoon University.

They are due to be brought before Bahan court on 2 January to face charges under sections 143 144 and 145 of the penal code on unlawful assembly, section 147 on rioting, 295 and 295 (a) on religious defamation and 505b on incitement of offences against the public tranquility.

Five of the six charges carry maximum sentences of two years each, while the sixth could lead to a further six months.

Ye Myat Hein's father Khin Maung Cho, who recently visited his son in Insein prison, said that he denied the charges.

"I did not violate any law. I just joined the monks' protest on 25 September peacefully, and I did not incite any riots either," Ye Myat Hein told his father.

Khin Maung Cho said that the conditions of his son's detention were in violation of Burmese law.

"According to section 37 of the regulations on the detention of juveniles issued by the Burmese govt in 1993, a minor should not be handcuffed or tied up, or held together with adult criminals," Khin Maung Cho said.

"They also can't beat them up or threaten them."

Despite this, Khin Maung Cho said his son is being held in a cell together with 20 adult criminals in order to intimidate him.

"So this is like the authorities are violating their own regulations by putting my son with these adult criminals," he said.

Ye Myat Hein is 17 years old and was arrested at his house on 10 October.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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