Burma: human rights defenders arrested again for expressing political opinions

May 13, 2014

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, must sometimes be doubting her power: on 5 May 2014, human rights defender Mr Ko Htin Kyaw was arrested by the police for distributing pamphlets in Yangon, Burma. On 9 May 2014, two of his colleagues were also arrested when they attended the trial against him. Ko Htin Kyaw is director of the Movement for Democracy Current Force (MDCF), a community-based organisation working to promote development and democracy.Ko Htin Kyaw was arrested and charged under article 505 (b) of the Penal Code for ‘making statements that cause alarm or induce others to commit an offence against the state’, while he was delivering a speech and distributing leaflets criticizing the Burmese government and calling on members of parliament to resign. He faces up to two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine. Human rights defenders Ko Tin Maung Kyi, deputy director of MDCF, and Ko Zaw Win (a member of MDCF) attended Ko Htin Kyaw’s trial on 9 May when they too were arrested and charged under the same section.

[The human rights defender has been repeatedly arrested for his peaceful protests, including in August and December 2013 https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/KoHtinKyaw. In February 2014, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the detention of Ko Htin Kyaw in December 2013 was arbitrary http://www.fidh.org/en/asia/burma/14594-burma-united-nations-working-group-finds-that-the-detention-of-human]

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