Kachin Activist Gets Extra Three Months in Prison

Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Kachin activist who was found guilty earlier this week of violating Burma’s Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law has received an additional three months in prison for giving a judge an unbalanced scale as a symbol of the state of Burma’s justice system.

He made the gesture on Monday, when he and co-defendant Seng Nu Pan were ordered to spend 15 days in prison or pay a fine 30,000 kyat (less than US$20) for organizing a street performance in June to mark the eighth anniversary of the war in Kachin State.

“I gave him [Judge Than Tun] a set of broken scales to represent the collapse of the judicial system. The scales of justice in this country are broken. For that, I’ve been sentenced to three months in prison,” Paul Lu told his supporters after a hearing on Friday at the Myitkyina Township Court.

Deputy Judge Tin Nwe Win handed down the sentence after finding him guilty of insulting a public servant in a judicial proceeding, which is prohibited under Article 228 of the Penal Code.

Paul Lu vowed never bow to injustice and said he would keep fighting until Burma’s legal system is reformed.

“I am a politician. That’s why I am doing this. I want to let the world and the whole of Burma and Kachin State know about this injustice. On this matter, I will never yield,” he said.

Kachin youths demonstrated against the sentence in Myitkyina on Thursday and said they planned further protests in the coming days.

They said they had four key demands—freedom of speech and expression, a fair and just legal system, understanding of the difficulties of people displaced by conflict, and an end to the civil war as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the authorities have continued to press charges against activists. At the protest on Thursday, Kachin activists N’khun La Nu and Malan Hkar Mai were charged with holding unauthorized placards.