Kachin youth activist Paul Lu was released from a prison in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina on Monday morning after serving a three-month sentence for handing broken judicial scales to a judge in protest.
On September 2, Paul Lu and fellow activist Seng Nu Pan were sentenced to 15 days in prison for their role in the organization a street performance on June 9 to mark the eighth anniversary of the resumption of civil war in Kachin State. They were charged with violating Article 19 of Burma’s so-called peaceful assembly law.
Paul Lu handed the scales to judge Than Tun to symbolize his objection to the sentence. The judge proceeded to prosecute Paul Lu with violating Article 228 of the country’s penal code.
“The existing laws have restricted us a lot, including restricting freedom of speech and expression,” he told KNG. “These laws have also restricted us from holding certain signboards. We were charged under these laws, so we need to continue our efforts to change these laws. We need to create and get the freedom of speech for all youth and all people.”
On September 16, Seng Nu Pan was released from prison. On that day, Paul began his additional three-month sentence, which concluded on December 16.
“My son has been released from prison. He has been released from a difficult place. I feel so happy,” Paul Lu’s father Lasham Zau Rip said.
Police officer Min Thant Zaw initially pressed charges against Paul Lu and Seng Nu Pan in a Myitkyina Township court on June 10 for their performance art one day earlier.