Female activists sentenced for prayer session in Mandalay
10 July 2015 — Three leading political activists in Mandalay have each been sentenced to four months in prison for staging a peaceful protest without permission in March.
The high-profile group comprises: Myint Myint Aye of the Social Assistance Network; National League for Democracy’s district information officer Khin May Si; and May Thet Oo of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society.
The veteran dissidents were charged for organising a prayer session calling for non-violence during the student education rally in Letpadan earlier this year.
Han Su Yi, defence lawyer for the three, said her clients were sentenced in a closed court hearing in Mandalay Division’s Meikhtila District on Friday.
“Daw Myint Myint Aye was brought out of the prison to the Meikhtila court around 11am and all the doors at the courthouse were shut when the hearing commenced,” said Han Su Yi.
“Daw Khin May Si, Daw May Thet Oo and Daw Myint Myint Aye, after hearing the verdict, were escorted to prison with heavy police security.”
Myint Myint Aye, a renowned land rights activist, was also sentenced to two months in prison for trespassing, following a plough protest held on military-confiscated land in Meikhtila in May.
Han Su Yi said the guilty verdict was “unfair”, adding that a jail term of four months was “rare”.
“Daw Khin May Si and Daw May Thet Oo are of an advanced age and their offence was nothing serious. They could have been just given a fine or lighter punishment, but four months is a bit excessive,” said Han Su Yi.
Meanwhile, around 70 activists detained in Tharawaddy are facing various charges for their part in the March education protests. Five students in Tavoy were also sentenced on Wednesday to either one month in prison or a 30,000-kyat (US$30) fine for their involvement in a similar demonstration.#
Note: This article was originally published in DVB on 10 July 2015.