Pardon for Two Student Activists, Lawyer in Mandalay

By Zarni Mann 21 April 2016

MANDALAY — A court in Myingyan Township, Mandalay Division, on Thursday released two student activists who had been facing trial for their involvement in education reform protests last year, part of an ongoing series of political prisoner pardons initiated by Burma’s new National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

Soe Hlaing, a Technological University student from Monywa, and Zin Ko Thant of Mandalay’s Yadanapon University were accused of replacing Burma’s national flag with a student union flag at Myingyan Degree College during a protest for education reform in January 2015.

Their release is the latest in a string of amnesties that President Htin Kyaw has signed off on since taking office this month.

Fellow students who were recently released from Tharyarwaddy Prison and also some others in Mandalay were present at the court to greet their friends and held a welcoming ceremony at Myingyan’s Soon Loon Gu Monastery on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Mandalay Division, lawyer Zaw Win, who has fought for victims of land confiscation, was released from one year and eight months’ detainment from Mandalay’s Oh-bo Prison. Zaw Win was on trial under Burma’s Peaceful Assembly Law, as well as facing charges of incitement and showing disrespect to the court, for staging a protest at the Pyin Oo Lwin District Court.

Inside Oh-bo prison, Myo Win, a fellow farmers’ rights activist from Mandalay, Yaypu Sayardaw from Mogok, and interfaith activists Zaw Zaw Latt and Pwint Phyu Latt remain behind bars, but are believed to soon be released.