First Karenni Youth Activist Released From Prison

Tuesday, December 4, 2019

One of six Karenni youth activists imprisoned after opposing the construction of a statue of the late Gen Aung San in the state capital of Loikaw was released from prison on Monday after serving a six-month sentence.

Khu Kyu Phae Kay, also known as Guugu, was the first of his cohort to be released.

“He was arrested a little bit earlier than his friends, so he was released from prison a little bit earlier after serving his imprisonment term,” Thae Reh, parliamentarian for the Kayah (Karenni) State Democratic Party in Hpruso Township, told NMG.

The activists’ court hearings lasted for five months, meaning that they are scheduled to be released within one to two weeks, Thae Reh explained.

The charges against them date back to March 25, when they released a statement accusing Karenni State’s chief minister L Phaung Sho, finance minister Maw Maw, and other officials of betraying Karenni history and encouraging disunity among ethnic peoples. The government representatives were involved in erecting a divisive statue of Gen Aung San in a public park in Loikaw.

The Karenni State government responded to the activists’ letter by prosecuting the six youth and charging them with violating Article 10 of Burma’s Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens.

“This is a personal issue. The problem is that the state government prosecuted the six youth. In my opinion, that’s not in line with law,” parliamentarian Thae Reh said.

The other five youth activists waiting for release from prison are Khu Reh Du, Khun Thomas, Myo Hlaing Win, Pyar Lay and Deede.

The final decision to sentence them to six months in prison came on November 7, after 18 court sessions. They were given credit for time already served.