The military regime charged a high-ranking Kachin minister for supporting holidays for civil servants until the democratically elected government in Burma is restored.
Dashi La Seng, the minister of Natural Resources and Environment in Kachin State, attended his first hearing in Myitkyina yesterday, March 1. He is charged with violating article 505/b for intent to commit offense against the State.
Outside court, Dashi La Seng told media that as the ‘temporary chief minister’ of Kachin State, he signed a statement supporting holidays for government staff, many of whom have walked off the job to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).
Min Yan Naing, the General Administration Development Officer for Myitkyina Township, launched the prosecution against the minister, according to Dashi La Seng’s lawyer Thet Tun Oo.
“We requested that the plaintiff GAD officer Min Yan Naing drop the case, but he refused so we must proceed with a trial,” Thet Tun Oo said. He said Dashi La Seng was denied access to legal counsel before his hearing.
This trial is expected to be completed within three months.
Dashi La Seng was arrested on February 1, when the military seized control of the country during a coup. He was released and rearrested February 8.
Since, authorities launched a crackdown against the CDM across the country. In Kachin State, security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and reportedly live rounds on protesters, and arrested people at demonstrations and during nightly raids at private residences.
According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma, currently there are 601 political prisoners, while 196 of 559 people awaiting trial are incarcerated.