Kachin Youth Leaders Fined


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Kachin youth leaders convicted for protesting jail sentences of compatriots.

Kachin youth leaders were ordered to pay fines or face jail time yesterday for protesting the prosecution of fellow youth leaders.

Ma Suit Seng Htoi, Ko Seng Kwam Awng and Ko Brang Mai were fined by a Myitkyina court during their second court appearance on December 18 in the Kachin State capital in northern Myanmar.

About 6000 people from youth, religious and non-governmental groups paraded through Myitkyina and in front of the courthouse on December 11. They demanded the government release three Kachin peace activists who received long jail sentences on December 7. Protestors felt their sentencing was unfair.

The peace activists were jailed for participating in protests on April 30 and May 1st. They asked the government to provide humanitarian assistance for hundreds of civilians trapped in the middle of fighting between the Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army in gold and amber rich Tanaing township.

Zau Jat, Lum Zawng, and Nang Pu were charged under the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act (Article 19). They were sentenced to six months in prison and fined 500,000 kyats (US$320).

“We haven’t committed any wrongdoing. We feel we are right for what we have done.” Nang Pu said. “Many people have suffered a lot from armed clashes. Many people were killed and injured by the shelling bombarded by the Burma Army’s fighter jets. We have tried to get justice in the court but we haven’t gotten any justice.”

During yesterday’s convictions, Ko Seng Kwam Awng and Ko Brang Mai were fined 30,000 (US$24) or 15 days in jail. As it was Ma Suit Seng Htoi’s second conviction he was fined 100,000 kyats (US$63) or 30 days in jail.