80 Letpadan Detainees Appear in Court

By Yen Saning 25 March 2015

RANGOON — Eighty people arrested during a crackdown on student demonstrations earlier this month were reunited with their families as they appeared in a central Burma court on Wednesday.

Eleven detainees were reportedly freed, while 69 remain in custody. The detainees—students and supporters of a student protest movement—were permitted to meet with their families, many for the first time since their arrest.

Robert San Aung of the Myanmar Lawyer’s Network, which has just been authorized to provide counsel for the detainees, said the group could face various charges including unlawful assembly, rioting, incitement and causing harm to a public servant.

Some of the charges carry penalties of up to three years under articles 143, 145, 147, 332 and 505 (b) of Burma’s Penal Code.

Arrest warrants have been issued for four leaders of the student movement, which since November has launched nationwide protests against a controversial National Education Law, according to Robert San Aung. Kyaw Ko Ko, Ye Yint Kyaw, Myat Thu and Nanda Sitt Aung are wanted for arrest, he said.

The next hearing has been scheduled for April 7, a full four weeks since the students were detained.