Burma

Kachin Activist’s Sentence Reduced

By Nyein Nyein 29 March 2019

The Kachin State Court reduced the prison sentence of Nang Pu—who was charged with defamation of the Myanmar military in December—from six to four months on Friday.

The Myitkyina Township Court sentenced Nang Pu and two other peaceful protesters, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat, to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 kyats under Article 500 of Myanmar’s Penal Code on Dec. 7 last.

The trio were accused by Lt-Col Myo Min Oo from the military’s Northern Command who filed criminal defamation complaints under Article 500 on May 8, 2018 for their participation in protests a month earlier. The protests were held in Mytikyina, the Kachin capital, to urge the government to help locals trapped in the Tanai area of Kachin State who fled from fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Myanmar military.

All three appealed to the Kachin State Court, but the judge on Friday accepted only the appeal of Nang Pu, rejecting both of the men.

The lawyer representing Nang Pu, Doi Bu, said her client’s sentence was reduced in consideration of the condition of her “being a woman who needs regular medical attention for her health.”

Nang Pu is the director of the Htoi Gender and Development Foundation and founder of the Kachin State Women’s Network. She advocates for the internally displaced, gender equality and peace in Kachin State.

Her lawyer said that as the sentence has been reduced to four months, Nang Pu only has one week left to serve and that she should be freed by no later than April 7.

The lawyer said Nang Pu could be freed earlier than April 7 depending on the decision of the prison authorities.

There has been an outpouring of happiness at the outcome of Nang Pu’s appeal across social media from her friends and colleagues who say they are excited to see her again.

Last month, Nang Pu was honored with a 2019 Schuman Award, together with two other human rights advocates from Myanmar, for “helping some of the most marginalized members of the conflict-affected communities in Kachin State.”

Lawyer Doi Bu said that the remaining two activists, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat, could go on to seek appeals at the High Court in Naypyidaw and that with their content, she would be help them.

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