Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Letpadan Police

By Yen Saning 11 August 2015

RANGOON — The Thayarwaddy Township Court on Tuesday rejected a case against two police officers involved in the arrest of more than 100 student activists and their supporters earlier this year, according to the lawyer that brought charges against the pair.

Human rights litigator Robert San Aung filed the case late last month against Police Maj. Phone Myint and Station Officer San Myint of the Letpadan Police Force, alleging that they violated due process.

Tuesday’s ruling was handed down five months to the day since police brutally dismantled a student protest outside a monastery in Letpadan, Pegu Division. The crackdown effectively nullified months of growing dissent over a new education law.

In the months since, dozens of students and their supporters have been released from Tharawaddy Prison, though about 70 still remain behind bars. UN rights envoy Yanghee Lee said during a recent visit to Burma that their arrest was “arbitrary,” and urged the government to immediately free them.

The township court has offered no sign that that will happen, however, as thirteen of the detainees were once again denied bail at today’s hearing. Several of those requesting bail have complained of health problems while in detention, and some have even required emergency treatment.

Khin Moe Moe, a lawyer who was at the court on Tuesday and represents some of the student activists, told The Irrawaddy that Robert San Aung now plans to appeal to the district court.

“We know they will reject it,” she said, “but Robert San Aung will try to sue them because he wants to show that we can take action over this type of crime, but we have to say there is still no rule of law.”