Em­bassy pro­test­ers jailed

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - AUNG KYAW MIN aungkyawmin@mm­times.com

FOUR ac­cused peo­ple, in­clud­ing Win Ko Ko Latt, who led a protest in front of the US Em­bassy in Yangon over the United States’ use of the word “Ro­hingya,” were sen­tenced to seven months’ im­pris­on­ment on Thurs­day by Ka­mayut township court.

“In mak­ing protests, be­cause the pro­test­ers shouted that US gov­ern­ment was a 420 gov­ern­ment (which refers to sec­tion 420 of the pe­nal code on cheat­ing), it af­fected bi­lat­eral good­will and peace and tran­quil­lity. More­over it fright­ened the pub­lic and they were con­victed of com­mit­ting a crime,” said Ka­mayut Judge Daw Soe Soe Moe.

The four ac­cused, in­clud­ing Win Ko Ko Latt, were con­victed and sen­tenced by Judge Daw Soe Soe Moe to six months’ im­pris­on­ment un­der pe­nal code 505(b) and one month im­pris­on­ment un­der sec­tion 19 of the Peace­ful Assem­bly and Peace­ful Pro­ces­sion Law, with days in cus­tody de­ducted.

“To tell you the truth, we didn’t get le­gal pro­tec­tion. We were put in jail be­cause we said there were no Ro­hingya in Myan­mar. I don’t blame the judge. But there are in­sane peo­ple above the law,” one of the four, Naing Win Tun, told the me­dia out­side the court.

“Pres­i­dent U Thein Sein said [there is no Ro­hingya.] So did the Com­man­der-in-chief. So did U Nyan Win of the Na­tional League for Democ­racy. Even then, he was con­victed,” said Ma Yi Nwe Aung, wife of Win Ko Ko Latt.

Win Ko Ko Latt, Magwe monastery monk U Par Mauk Kha, U Nyarna Dhamma, U Thu Seikta, Naing Win Tun, Nay Win Aung and Thet Myo Oo, who led the protest against the US for us­ing the word “Ro­hingya” at the US Em­bassy, were pros­e­cuted by Ka­mayut Po­lice Cap­tain Thein Han.

Then Ka­mayut Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tor U Than Tun Aung also filed a suit against them un­der pe­nal code sec­tion 505(b). Out of those seven, only four were sen­tenced. No men­tion was made of the three monks U Par Mauk Kha, U Nyarna Dhamma and U Thu Seikta.

MALAYSIA’S de­ci­sion last week to dis­so­ci­ate it­self from ASEAN’S united stand on the con­flict in Rakhine State should not sur­prise any­one. Those who have fol­lowed this coun­try’s for­eign pol­icy will im­me­di­ately see through the ul­te­rior mo­tives of Malaysian leader Na­jib Razak. He has be­come a be­lea­guered ever since cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing a pub­lic fi­nan­cial scheme be­gan to sur­face at the end of 2014, when he was about to em­bark as ASEAN chair.

Malaysia has a long his­tory of act­ing alone, try­ing to dis­play its con­fi­dence as well as self-pre­sumed morale high-ground. Dur­ing the Cam­bo­dian con­flict, Malaysia played the group’s devil’s ad­vo­cate. When Thai­land tried to mo­bilise ASEAN against Viet­nam’s in­cur­sion into Cam­bo­dia in 1980, Malaysia wanted to do it dif­fer­ently and recog­nised its in­ter­ven­tion. When ASEAN for­eign min­is­ters met with their Chi­nese coun­ter­part in Kun­ming in June last year, Kuala Lumpur leaked a joint ASEAN state­ment with strong words against Bei­jing, which had not been ap­proved by con­sen­sus.

Truth be told, Malaysia has pro­moted it­self as a mod­er­ate, demo­cratic and It-ori­ented coun­try in re­cent years. The Na­jib gov­ern­ment has been work­ing hard to pro­mote the Global Mod­er­ate Move­ment, which was adopted as an ASEAN agenda in 2015. ASEAN sup­ported it be­cause it would help Malaysia to pro­mote the in­ter-faith di­a­logue and boost the group’s ties with the Mus­lim com­mu­nity around the world, es­pe­cially mem­bers of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion. In fact, ASEAN could have

Malaysia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ani­fah Aman.

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