ABSDF Members Charged Under Article 17(1) Await Verdict in Kachin State

ABSDF Members Charged Under Article 17(1) Await Verdict in Kachin State
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Three men are charged with communicating with an ‘unlawful association.’

The eighteenth court session for members of the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) accused of liaising with an “unlawful organization” was held on Monday in Mohnyin Township.

Ko Aung Swe Oo, who is the deputy in-charge of the ABSDF’s northern region, and two other men are charged with violating Article 17(1) of Burma’s colonial-era Unlawful Association Act, which prohibits communication with banned groups. They were arrested on November 20, 2018, when they traveled to attend the funeral service for a fellow ABSDF member.

A final decision on the case is expected by April 11, before the start of the annual water festival Thingyan, defense lawyer U Tin Hlaing told KNG.

“This case is a little bit faster than similar cases. The investigation was completed within four months, but in some cases that takes eight months to one year,” he explained.

Former ABSDF members, the chairperson of the Shanni Nationalities Development Party, and other members of the public have come to witness the court sessions.

If convicted of violating Article 17(1), the men will be sentenced to at least two months in prison and be ordered to pay a 300,000 kyat (US$199) fine.

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