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Human Rights Defenders Messrs Moe Thway and D Nyein Lin Receive Prison Sentence Along with Four Other Peaceful Protesters

By Front Line Defenders  •  November 22, 2013

On 21 November 2013, six peaceful demonstrators were sentenced to one month’s imprisonment in Kyimyindaing Court in Rangoon under Section 18 of the 2011 Peaceful Assembly Law.

The charges of “protesting without prior permission” had been brought against human rights defenders Moe Thway and D Nyein Lin, as well as Ma ThandarAung Moe OoMyin Kyaw Oo and Soe Moe Tun, for demonstrating in Rangoon on 1 December 2012 against the forceful treatment of peaceful protesters who were camping near the Letpadaung copper mine, in central Burma. In light of D Nyein Lin’s conditional amnesty in 2011, this sentence means that he will now serve the remaining ten years of an earlier sentence.

Moe Thway is a member of Generation Wave Youth Force, a network of human rights defenders that campaigns for civil and political rights, exerting pressure on the Burmese government to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and campaigning against the Letpadaung mine project. They have brought the campaign to national attention. D Nyein Lin is a student activist who formerly led the All-Burma Federation of Student Unions during the Buddhist monks demonstrations in 2007. Ma Thandar is a colleague of Naw Ohn Hla, the leader of Rangoon-based Peace and Women Network. Naw Ohn Hla was one of 69 prisoners released under presidential pardon on 15 November 2013. Aung Myo Oo, Myint Kyaw Oo, and Soe Moe Tun have no affiliation with any group.

In 2011, D Nyein Lin was released on conditional amnesty after receiving a sentence of 15 years and 6 months in prison in November 2008. He had been arrested by the junta and charged with “inducing crime against public tranquillity”, amongst other charges. As a result of this recent sentence, D Nyien Lin will serve the remaining ten years of his original prison sentence.

According to the protesters’ lawyer, Mr Robert San Aung, a total of 57 activists have now been imprisoned under the Peaceful Assembly Law. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 130 activists have been brought to court under this legislation, 18 of whom remain in prison.

Front Line Defenders is concerned that the Burmese authorities continue to target peaceful protesters, and joins Burmese civil society groups in their call for Parliament to reform Section 18 of Peaceful Assembly Law 2011.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Burma to:

  1. Overturn the sentences against human rights defenders Moe Thway and D Nyein Lin, and subsequently release them without delay, as well as Ma Thandar, Aung Moe Oo, Myin Kyaw Oo and Soe Moe Tun, as they have been targeted solely for exercising their legitimate right to peaceful assembly;
  2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Burma are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
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