Thai University Joins Karen Calls for the Release of Activist Saw Lin Htet

Friends of Saw Lin Htet who was arrested in Hpa-An are demanding his immediate release.

Saw Lin Htet was arrested by Burma’s security forces on March 23, 2021 while travelling home from a community meeting with villagers.

Saw Lin Htet, a Karen youth activist is based in Hpa-An and was involved in many community works in the area. Close friends said security forces arrested him when he was coming back from a meeting in Don Yin village claiming he was carry papers and documents opposing the military council.

Saw Lin Htet’s arrest is also cause for concern in neighboring Thailand where he studied at the prestigious Mahidol University in Bangkok.

The arrest of Saw Lin Htet, a student at Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Right and Peace Studies (IHRP) has people in the faculty calling for his release.

The IHRP wrote on their social media page they were “gravely concerned to learn Saw Lin Htet, a student at the IHRP, was arrested and detained by Myanmar security forces on 23 March after an arbitrary search of his car. Saw Lin Htet is a young Karen community leader and has been working for human rights and peace in Kayin State for many years.”

The IHRP said the actions of Burma security officials were in breach of numerous national and international laws.

“Saw Lin’s rights to justice and a fair trial are being denied by security forces who should be respecting international standards, including those recognized in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.”

IHRP demanded a fair trial for Saw Lin Htet and other detained peaceful protestors, and called for their immediate released.

A Karen youth source based in Hpa-An told Karen News; “There was a checkpoint set up by security forces at the entrance of the town. When security forces checked his car, they claimed they found papers and documents they said were against the law. So, they arrested him. We need all Karen youth in Hpa-An to stand with him.”

According to the source, Saw Lin Htet was with his young daughter when he was taken away after security forces and his child was left for his wife to pick up.

Saw Lin Htet was taken to Hpa-An’s Taungalay Prison and he appeared in court on the morning of 24th March – the court scheduled his next hearing for April 7, 2021.

In Hpa-An alone, as of March 26, security forces have arrested more than 90 people including youth protestors, activists, NLD members and Civil Disobedience Movement participants since the military coup on February 1.

At nationwide level, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) estimated as of March 25, “320 people have been killed due to the violent and arbitrary crackdowns against protestors and 2981 people have been arrested in relation to the military coup.

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