February 13, 2018
A MAN who took part in the 2015 protest for the democratisation of education and a lawyer who defended the jailed protesters are facing trial two-and-a-half years after the fact, according to the Union Lawyers & Paralegals Association.
They are being prosecuted by Tharrawaddy township for insulting a public officer on duty, under criminal law section 228.
The passage of the National Education Law in September 2014 sparked a protest by student unions, who said the law was too strict. On March 10, 2015, security forces beat protesting students at Letpadan township in Bago Region, injuring about three dozen. About 100 protesters were arrested.
In April 2016, during the early days of the NLD government, the student protesters’ case was closed and those arrested were released. However, lawyer Daw Khin Khin Kyaw, who defended the protesters, and Ko Than Htike, who joined the protests, still face trial nearly two-and-a-half years later.
Prosecution by Tharrawaddy township started in September 2015, and the two defendants have appeared in court 52 times.
Daw Khin Kyaw Kyaw, lawyer of the accused, said: “I was prosecuted while covering the students’ cases. When the new government was elected, the NLD closed that case and other political cases but not our case.
“It has been a long time and it is really exhausting for me. The trial is wasting my time and money. They are prosecuting a lawyer with section 228, which is a law from the colonial era. This law should not remain under a democratic regime,” she added.