Myanmar court sentences lecturer over student protests

A Myanmar court has sentenced Wai Yan Aung, 3 months jail with hard labor for leading student protests.

Myanmar court sentences lecturer over student protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

 A Myanmar court has sentenced a university lecturer to three months in prison with hard labor for leading a demonstration during nationwide student protests that were violently suppressed by police, local media reported Monday.

Wai Yan Aung is the first to be sentenced for his involvement in protests against the National Education Law, which activists say stifles academic freedom and centralizes control over universities.

Like dozens of others, he was charged under the controversial Peaceful Assembly Law, a bill condemned by critics who say it is being used by the government to repress political dissent. Other demonstrators face additional charges including rioting.

A district court in the southwestern Pathein region rejected the defense’s argument that the chief minister of the region had promised demonstrators that no one would be arrested for taking part in the march.

The lecturer told reporters before being taken into custody that he was “not guilty,” the Myanmar Times reported. “The government is acting as if it’s above the law,” he added.

Seventy protestors remain in custody after a harsh police crackdown in March following months of demonstrations.

The focal point of the crackdown was the town of Letpadan, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) from the commercial capital Yangon. Police beat protestors with truncheons before dragging them into trucks.

There were at least 157 political prisoners in Myanmar’s jails at the end of last month with hundreds more awaiting trial, according to the latest report by local rights group the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

“The government continues to violate the rights of its citizens, silencing its critics and prosecuting its opposition, thus preventing them from exercising their fundamental rights,” the report said.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the students said dozens are facing jail terms of up to 20 years, the report added.

The Association says arrests have continued since the crackdown.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mayıs 2015, 17:50