Lawyer For Rakhine Students To Appeal Sentencing In Burma’s District Court
By Network Media Group
Monday, September 27, 2021
The lawyer for four Rakhine students recently convicted by a Burmese township court on protest and another charge will appeal the Sittwe court’s verdict, which was handed down this month.
“In my opinion, the sentence was too harsh,” the lawyer Kyaw Nyunt Maung told NMG, while acknowledging that the youths from the Arakan State Students’ Union were guilty of protesting last year before the military took power.
The Sittwe Township Courthouse sentenced them to two and a half years with hard labour on 16 September for violating Article 505 (b) for committing offensives against the state and Article 29 of Disaster Management Law for failing to comply with pandemic restrictions.
“The higher court can overturn the lower court’s decision,” he said, “by reducing their sentences. That’s why we’re preparing an appeal… We expect to win in the district court.”
Kyaw Naing Htay, Oo Than Naing, Myat Soe Win and Kawng Tun protested Burma Army (BA) on 19 October 2020 for committing human rights violations during the conflict with Arakan Army in the state.
Commenting on their charges, Kyaw Nyunt Maung said: “The township court imposed the longest sentence on these students… I don’t want to question whether they broke the law, but only their sentence, which I think is too high.”
”In relation to Article 29, the plaintiff admitted that he didn’t even know if the students had broken the law during the judicial enquiry, but the judges gave them six months each,” he said.
According to a statement by All Arakan Students and Youths Congress (AASYC), the students were prosecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression and called on the junta to release them immediately.
“We don’t trust the civilian government (NLD) and the military junta and will continue to fight against oppression,” Toe Toe Aung from the Arakan State Students’ Union told NMG.
The students have already spent the last eleven months behind bars.