Re­li­gious lead­ers urge govt to re­lease ac­tivists

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SI THU LWIN sithul­win@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Twenty-two re­li­gious lead­ers have called for the re­lease of two Mus­lim ac­tivists im­pris­oned in a case crit­i­cised as po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

RE­LI­GIOUS lead­ers are call­ing on the govern­ment to in­ter­vene in the case of two Mus­lim ac­tivists im­pris­oned for un­law­ful as­so­ci­a­tion, charges that were in­ter­na­tion­ally de­cried as po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

Signed by 22 lead­ers from dif­fer­ent faiths, the pe­ti­tion de­mands the re­lease of Ko Zaw Zaw Latt and Ma Pyint Phyu Latt, who were ar­rested last year af­ter a cam­paign waged by na­tion­al­ist group Ma Ba Tha. The two ac­tivists, who are mem­bers of an in­ter­faith group, were charged over a visit to the Kachin In­de­pen­dence Army’s Laiza head­quar­ters in 2013, and a sep­a­rate visit to the In­dian bor­der in 2014.

In Fe­bru­ary, the ac­tivists were con­victed un­der the Un­law­ful As­so­ci­a­tions Act and the 1947 Im­mi­gra­tion Emer­gency Pro­vi­sions Act. A third mem­ber of the same in­ter­faith group, Ko Zaw Win Bo, was re­leased af­ter a pres­i­den­tial par­don on April 17. The pe­ti­tion for Ko Zaw Zaw Latt and Ma Pwint Phyu Latt’s free­dom was signed by six Bud­dhist monks, six Chris­tian lead­ers, five Mus­lim lead­ers and five in­ter­faith ac­tivists, and was sent to the Man­dalay Re­gion chief min­is­ter and the Union govern­ment on Au­gust 24.

The pe­ti­tion ar­gues that if the two ac­tivists were freed, they would be able to con­tinue their vol­un­teer work for the ben­e­fit of the coun­try.

“Now, we have a new govern­ment in place and it should ac­tively be do­ing things to make the sit­u­a­tion bet­ter,” said Ko Zaw Zaw Latt’s sis­ter Maw Zin War Latt. “I hope they are freed as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Ko Zaw Zaw Latt (cen­tre) and Ma Pwint Phyu Latt (left) ap­pear for a hear­ing at Chan Aye Tharzan Town­ship Court on Fe­bru­ary 26.

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