MANDALAY — Five student activists from Mandalay Division’s Myingyan Township were sentenced to nine months in prison on Thursday and released immediately, having already served more time behind bars than their sentences required while awaiting a verdict.
Sithu Myat, Kyaw Than Htun, Nyan Myint Than, Sein Win and Ma Phyu were found guilty of charges under articles 143, 145 and 505(b) of Burma’s Penal Code, pertaining to incitement and other criminal code violations linked to their participation in and organizing of a protest last year against the mass arrest of fellow student demonstrators in March.
“After having been detained in Myingyan Prison and going to hearings for the past nine months, the court has finally decided to let them walk,” said Moe Hein, the students’ lawyer.
“Thant Zin is still in prison because he has to serve an additional two months for charges brought against him under the Peaceful Assembly Act.”
The five students sentenced and released on Thursday were arrested on March 27 in Mandalay, where they were part of a solidarity protest to demand the release of dozens of activists arrested in a police crackdown at Letpadan, Pegu Division, on March 10.
Meanwhile, two other students in Myingyan Township await trial behind bars. Soe Hlaing and Zin Ko Thant were accused of replacing Burma’s national flag with a student union flag at Myingyan Degree College during a protest march to Rangoon in January of last year.