‘No Justice’ As Another Three Kachin Youth Leaders Prosecuted

‘We are working together against unfair things,’ said one Kachin protester.
Monday, December 10, 2018

Police in Myitkyina, Kachin State brought charges against three more Kachin youth for protesting the sentencing of three Kachin anti-war protesters on Friday.

The three are Sut Seng Htoi, Seng Hkum Awng and Brang Mai, charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act after leading a demonstration in front of the Myitkyina Township court on December 7. They were among those protesting the six-month prison sentence and 500,000-kyat (US$320) fine handed down to Nang Pu, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat for “defaming” the military with their calls for the protection of internally displaced people in Kachin State’s conflict zones earlier this year.

The three most recently arrested protesters were initially released on bail but will attend a court hearing on Monday.

“I didn’t think they would give this kind of sentence [to Nang Pu, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat]…The court made an unfair and unjust decision. That is why we opposed the court’s decision,” Sut Seng Htoi told NMG, adding that she and the other demonstrators had not broken any law. “There is no justice for our people. What we understand is that the law must protect the people, but there is no just court for the people,” she added.

All Kachin Youth Union member Kyang Zay described the prosecution of Sut Seng Htoi, Seng Hkum Awng and Brang Mai as an attempt to intimidate civil society.

“It’s just a threat against us. [The authorities] complained that we didn’t ask or report about our demonstration before protesting,” she explained. “We didn’t report it because the court decision was unfair. That’s why we staged a protest. Even if they threaten us, we will continue to demand [justice].”

“We are working together against unfair things,” Kyang Zay said.

Friday’s demonstration included a march from the Myitkyina courthouse to the Manau festival grounds, where members of the public held a press conference condemning the sentencing of the youth leaders.