Student Sentenced to Six Months’ Prison for Mid-2015 Graffiti Protest

By Zarni Mann 29 January 2016

MANDALAY — A court in Mandalay Division’s Amarapura Township sentenced a student activist to six months in prison on Friday for his role in a graffiti protest on the grounds of Yadanabon University in mid-2015.

Ye Yint Paing Mu was arrested in December for spray-painting messages that called on the government to resign and demanded the release of students and their supporters detained during the nationwide demonstrations against the National Education Law.

He was charged for incitement under Burma’s Penal Code and under Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly Law.

“I will not submit an appeal because we were just urging the government to amend the education bill and I’ve done nothing wrong. I never trust this judicial system which is under the control of the government,” said Ye Yint Paing Mu on Friday at the Amarapura court before being taken to Obo Prison where he will serve his prison term.

The student still faces a charge of unlawful assembly to be heard in Mandalay’s Chan Aye Tharzan Township court.

“We wonder why the government is still afraid of the students but freeing criminals under the amnesty. If the government could negotiate with the armed ethnic forces, why can’t they talk with the students who are not armed?” said Thein Than Oo, Ye Yint Paing Mu’s lawyer.

“If [the government] is sincere about real change in the country, they should think about these detained students before they hand over power to the new government.”

Three other students detained in July last year and sentenced for taking part in the same graffiti protest at Yadanabon University were released in December.