Kachin Youth Brought to Court on Charges of Violating Peaceful Assembly Law

 Police filed charges for their commemoration of the eighth year of war in Kachin State.

Two youth appeared in court in Myitkyina on Thursday after being charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly Law’s Article 19 for their street performance held to mark the eighth anniversary of war in Kachin State last month.

Police Lt-Maj Min Thant Zaw brought the charges against Paw Lu and Seng Nu Pan for their commemoration in Seinmya Aya park and public square in the Kachin State capital on June 9.

Seng Nu Pan told KNG that in this week’s hearing, the police compared their street person with a Rakhine demonstration marking 200 years since the last Rakhine kingdom fell.

“Our lawyer rejected it. Our lawyer responded that IDPs [internally displaced people] are not demanding a separate Kachin nation. But the plaintiff said that the events are the same,” she said, adding that if anything, it was cases like this were pushing people towards considering separation from the Union.

The plaintiff’s witnesses included police officers Lt Win Naing, Lt Zin Zo Zo and U Htay Win, the administrator of north Shansu ward in Myitkyina.

“Our youth held a commemoration day. They didn’t demand a separate nation. It’s not a protest. They just showed that war has been going on for eight years already,” defense lawyer Mar Khar told KNG. “Is the law wrong? Are authorities wrong? Are action takers wrong? It was not a protest. They held a commemoration event. I don’t believe they should take action against these youths.”

Of her and Paw Lu, Seng Nu Pan insisted, “we don’t have any guilt” and said that they had discussed the street performance with the police before doing it. She said that the case the authorities were building in court could be formed on “misinformation.”

The next court session is scheduled for July 11.

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