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Traffic argument lands party leader in jail

The Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics’ party leader Aye Lwin will spend two months behind bars for disturbing the peace.

The sentence was handed down by Rangoon’s Hlegu township court over an incident that occurred in July 2011 when Aye Lwin was driving to Naypyidaw to meet with officials from the Union Election Commission and refused to pay a highway toll-fee.

Aye Lwin and fellow UMFNP members were travelling to the capital city by car when they were stopped at a toll-gate on the highway in Hlegu outside of Rangoon.

The UMFNP head refused to pay the toll-fee citing the Political Parties Registration Law’s article 15(b) and then proceed to enter into a heated argument with officials.

“Article 15(b) of the Political Parties Registration Law says taxes and rates taxable on the money earned from membership entrances, applications and donations are exempted,” said the party’s deputy chairman Than Oo.

“We were summoned to [Naypyidaw] by the UEC and spending the money we earned to do these things. We explained it to other [officials at toll] gates and they agreed not the charge us.”

Although Aye Win and his fellow party members eventually paid the fee, the officials sued him for disturbing the peace.

“He was found guilty and jailed because he caused a traffic jam and thus disturbed the toll-gate officials,” said Than Oo.

The deputy chairman said the party would appeal the decision.

Aye Lwin was an active demonstrator in the 1988 uprising; however, he later dropped out of the mainstream opposition movement and began a lobbying against western sanctions placed on Burma.

In 2010, Aye Lwin participated in general elections in November 2010, during which members of his party were harassed and physically assaulted by government-backed thugs.



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