Five youths arrested in Putao, located in Burma’s northern Kachin State, were released, with their charges reduced after Kachin State Negotiation Committee mediated with authorites, according to committee member Bawk Ja.
Initially, the youths were charged with violating Article 505/b for committing an offence against the state and Article 144 for unlawful assembly. In addition, one was charged with Article 17/1 for unlawful association.
After the charges were dropped, they are all prosecuted with Article 29 of the Natural Disaster and Management Law. If found guilty, the youths could receive six months in prison or a fine of 100,000 kyat ($71).
Despite time behind bars, after they were freed on March 5, they vowed to continue resistance against the military regime.“We are fighting against the injustice in our country. We will continue to join the movement until democracy is restored,” said Zanhta Ram Seng, one of the youth who was detained.
Health workers across the country launched the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), walking off the job a few days after the February 1 coup. Since, many other civil servants refuse to work until the dictatorship is dismantled.
Approximately fifty government staff in Putao who joined the CDM are hiding after warrants were issued for their arrests. Bawk Ja said that Kachin State Negotiation Committee is trying to convince authorities to stop persecuting the civil servants.
The other four youths who were released include Malawng Hpe Naung Aung, Awng Dee, Sin Wah and Hpungraw Hpi Nang.