The ICJ today condemned the conviction of six human rights defenders after an unfair trial lasting less than five minutes. The six were charged in connection with their participation in a peaceful demonstration against the fatal shooting of a protestor in Letpadaung.
They were sentenced to four years and four months in prison.
“Under both international and Myanmar law, a fair trial means independent judges, the need for evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and due process. All of these requirements were ignored in the case of these accused, who must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Sam Zarifi, the ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
“Instead of prosecuting peaceful protestors, the Myanmar government must hold those responsible for the killing in Letpadaung accountable and provide justice,” he added.
The ICJ attended today’s hearing at the Yangon Dagon Township Court of Daw Naw Ohn Hla, Daw Sein Htwe, U Nay Myo Zin, Ko Tin Htut Paing, Daw Lay Lay @ Daw San San Win and U Than Swe, who were sentenced for violating Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, as well as a series of offences under the Penal Code.
These offences include assaulting or preventing a public servant from the discharge of his duty (Section 353); rioting (Section 147); publishing or circulating information which may cause public fear or alarm and may incite persons to commit offences “against the State or against the public tranquility” (Section 505(b)).
It is unclear whether an appeal will be filed, but the ICJ understands that the accused’s appeal in this case would be highly unlikely to succeed.