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Four women activists awaits court verdict


New Delhi (Mizzima) – District Court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison has set February 15 for pronouncing the verdict of four women activists including popular activist Naw Ohn Hla, who are supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The East District Court on Monday announced that it would pronounce the verdict on February 15, after the court had conducted the proceedings for the past four months against the activists.

“We submitted our final arguments. And the court fixed February 15 for pronouncing the verdict,” a defence counsel Kyaw Hoe told Mizzima.

The activists – Naw Ohn Hla, Myint Myint San, Cho Cho Lwin and Ma Cho – were arrested while returning from offering alms to monks in a local monastery and for regularly praying for the release of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. naw-ohn-hla-nld1s

The Rangoon Division Police Special Branch (SB) charged the four of instigating public unrest, under section 505(b) of the Penal Code. They were accused of offering 42 leaflets of the ‘Kamwa’ Buddhist scriptures to abbot U Pamaukha from Magwe Priyatti teaching monastery of Rangoon’s suburban Dagon Township.

“We argued that there are no sufficient evidences against the accused. The prosecutor was not able to present the Buddhist scriptures in court. And neither could they produce the abbot, who was said to have received the scripture, as the prosecution witness. So we argued that the case did not have enough evidences as there are no eye witnesses and no sound and valid evidence against them,” lawyer Kyaw Hoe said.

“We pleaded for their acquittal,” he added. 

Kyaw Hoe said, the public prosecutor made no arguments in court but said he would present a written argument later.

“The prosecution has to defend the legal points raised by the defence. But he did not give any counter arguments,” lawyer Kyaw Hoe said.

Naw Ohn Hla, a popular activist have been leading prayer services held at Shwedagon pagoda on Tuesdays, for the release of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from her house arrest.

The police arrested her and her three colleagues on October 3 last year, while returning from offering alms at the Magwe priyatti teaching monastery in Dagon Township.

Meanwhile, another five activists were given up to nine years of prison terms by the court last month.

Deputy Abbot U Wayama from Shwezedi monastery in Yenanchaung Town of Magwe Division, U Yeweta from Pali University West Ngwe Taung in Chauk Town, U Withuddha from West monastery of Pakokku Sasana Wipulla Yama, layman Ye Myint and Kyaw Khin from Mandalay and Pegu were given varying prison terms ranging between six to nine years under charges of illegal Associations Acts, Immigration Acts, illegally possessing foreign currency and inciting public unrest.

The five of them were among the eight activists arrested from five townships across the country in August and early September 2009.  Reportedly the defendants were sentenced in a trial without a defence counsel to defend them.

The three other activists - Ko Nyo, Thanda Tun and abbot U Gaw Thita – are also charged under Associations Act and Immigration Act and illegally possessing foreign currency. The three are currently facing trial and the court is set to re-examine the recalled witnesses, defence lawyers Kyaw Htay and Kyaw Hoe said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 February 2010 23:25 )  

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