Kachin Youth Leaders Sentenced to Six Months in Prison
‘This system doesn’t bring any justice for us,’ said one of the anti-war activists.
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Three ethnic Kachin youth leaders were sentenced to six months in prison and fined 500,000 kyats (US$320) each by a Myitkyina Township court on Friday.
The anti-war protesters—Zau Jat, Lum Zawng, and Nang Pu—are now being held in Kachin State’s Myitkyina Prison.
“We have been sentenced to up to six months in prison and [fined] for our actions to save people’s lives. If we don’t pay the fine, we will have to stay another six months in prison. So we can say it’s a one-year prison term,” Lum Zawng told NMG.
All three individuals led a protest and spoke at a press conference on May 1 calling for the protection of displaced civilians trapped in Kachin State’s conflict zone, as well as an end to the heavy fighting.
“We haven’t committed any wrongdoing. We feel we are right for what we have done. We have evidence,” Nang Pu said. “Many people have suffered a lot from armed clashes. Many people were killed and injured by the shelling bombarded by the Burma Army’s fighter jets. We have tried to get justice in the court but we haven’t gotten any justice. The judge thought we were guilty. Then the judge made the court’s decision for us,” she explained.
Charges were initially brought against Nang Pu, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat by the Burma Army’s Lt-Col Myo Min Oo, who said that their statements had defamed the military, and they were found guilty of violating Section 500 of the Penal Code.
Lt-Col Myo Min Oo was not present at the sentencing in court on Friday.
Lum Zawng said that the sentencing makes him “worried about the justice system in Burma.”
“It doesn’t protect us. This system doesn’t bring any justice for us,” he added.
Members of the public staged a protest in front of the Myitkyina court in opposition to the sentencing, marching from the court to the Manau festival grounds and holding a press conference there.