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Six Rangoon demonstrators refused bail


Six demonstrators who were arrested after taking part in a peaceful demonstration last Monday, November 26, in Rangoon have been charged under a law that denies them release on bail, according to a report on Tuesday by The Associated Press (AP).

Aung Thein, the lawyer for two of six, said they were charged for inciting unrest, a criminal offense that carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, AP said. The activists' trial began on Monday, December 3.

Aung Thein reportedly added that the authorities could have taken action under the Peaceful Assembly Act, which allows street protests if a permit is obtained.

The six were arrested last Thursday after they participated in a demonstration in Rangoon protesting against the Monywa copper mine site in Sagaing Division.

Later that week, dozens of protesters in Monywa, including many Buddhist monks, were burned and injured when riot police moved in to disperse the protesters.

On Friday, an alliance of 55 international NGOs and domestic civil society organizations signed a petition condemning the violent crackdown on protesters at Monywa, but added a statement in support of the six activists who had been detained on November 26 in the former capital.

“Six key organizers of supporting protests in Rangoon were also arrested: Ko Wai Lu, Daw Shan Ma, Ko Myo Chit, Ko Ye Lin, Daw Naw Ohn Hla and Ko Nyi Nyi,” the statement noted. “They were originally arrested under Article 18(b) of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law for protesting without permission. However, they have since been charged under section 505(b) of the penal code for committing or inducing others ‘to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility’.
 
“This section of the penal code has been identified by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, in his report to the Human Rights Council in March of this year, as not complying with international human rights standards. It has been employed systematically to detain political activists and those who oppose the government. We join Mr. Quintana in calling for this section of the penal code to be repealed,” the statement said.

It was signed by the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, Burma Campaign UK, Generation Wave, US Campaign for Burma, and various ethnic organizations and community-based groups in Burma.


For more background:

http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/8464-copper-mine-protesters-arrested-and-charged.html

http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/8500-88-generation-students-urge-government-not-to-arrest-protesters.html
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2012 16:34 )  

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