Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Blogger produced before court again - Nay Phone Latt and GW

by Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima)– Youth blogger and writer Nay Phone Latt held in Insein prison, was produced in court again.

Today the court heard one of his cases where he is being charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code (inducing crime against public tranquility). His court hearing started in early July this year.

"A policeman from Bahan police station testified today as the prosecution witness. He said my son got involved in demonstrations without being able to produce any evidence and exhibits such as a photograph in court," his mother Aye Than said.

He has been kept in solitary confinement in Insein prison special cell since early July this year, when the court started hearing his case. He was not allowed to stroll outside his cell, his mother added.

"He is disappointed as he is in solitary confinement. Maung Weik (business tycoon) is in the neighbouring cell. But he is allowed to troll outside the cell. My son and Zarganar are not allowed to do so. Though he is a youth, I worry about his health in the prison environment," Nay Phone Latt's mother said.

Nay Phone Latt was arrested and detained on January 29 this year and was charged under 505(b) of the Penal Code, section 32(a), 36 of the Video Law and section 33(a), 38 of the Electronic Law.

The hearing was adjourned today by the court, which was hearing the cases of 35 students of the 88-generation, including Ko Min Ko Naing after an argument between the judge and the accused on addressing them as defendants.

"The student leaders reacted immediately as soon as the judge referred to them as defendants. They said they are just the accused and could not be referred to as defendants before being formally charged by the court after it hears prosecution and defence witnesses. The court had to adjourn the hearing after that," a family member of one of the 88-Generation Students, Ko Ko Gyi, said.

Similarly other 88-Generation Students, Sithu Maung and six others, were produced before the court today. They were accused of staging demonstrations protesting against the rising fuel prices.

Advocate Khin Maung Shein said that they are presenting an argument for discharge of the case against the student leaders made under section 124(a) of the Penal Code (disaffection towards State and government) as no case against the accused has been made out which would warrant their conviction.

"We presented our argument made under section 253 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to consider discharging the accused from the case on hearing the last witness. The accused have to suffer a lot because of this wrongful charge. So the accused should be discharged as no case against them has been made out under section 124(a) of the Penal Code, we argued in court," he added.

The authorities changed the charges made against the student leaders later --- from the previous 124(a) of the Penal Code to new charges made under sections 505(b) (inducing crime against public tranquility), 143 and 145 (unlawful assembly), and 295 (insulting religion) of the Penal Code. These student leaders face prison terms ranging from two to a maximum of 8 years if found guilty.

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