Burma releases protesters but anti-protest laws stay in place

Following the release of four protesters last week, an international advocacy group, Burma Campaign UK, called on the Burma government to stop using vague and undemocratic laws to jail its opponents.

Burma’s military-backed government released four political prisoners on Friday, 18th of January. The prisoners released were Aung Hmine San, Than Htike, Min Naing Lwin and Thein Aung Myint. They had been arrested for protesting without permission.

The four men were offered bail but refused, as they believe that the law that they have been charged under is undemocratic and inequitable.

They were sentenced to one month in prison but were able to walk free after the court hearing today since they had already been detained for 33-days in prison.

The four men were arrested under Article 18(b) of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law – a law that human rights advocacy group Burma Campaign UK said was denying “genuine rights and freedom to protest.”

Burma Campaign UK urged Burma’s government to repeal the current protest law.

“Article 18(b) of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law in Burma allows the military-backed government to still control who can have permission to protest and who can’t depending on whether it is critical of the government or not.”

The group said in a statement released on the 18th of January, “A protest law which grants genuine rights and freedom to protest should be in place in Burma.”

“No one would need to ask for permission to protest or gather, if the protest law in Burma is in line with international standards,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK.

“If President Thein Sein really wants genuine reform, he should start by repealing this current protest law,” Wai Hnin said.

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