Thursday, July 12, 2012

Court rejects appeal for medical treatment

Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:05 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A Kachin man who was arrested and tortured by a Burmese Military Affairs Security Unit needs medical treatment, his lawyer, Ma Hka, told a Myitkyina Court judge on Wednesday.

Kachin residents peacefully protest for the release of Lahtaw Brang Shawng in Myitkyina on Friday, July 6, 2012. Photo: jinghpawkasa

During the first hearing in the case, lawyer Ma Hka told the court that Lahtaw Brang Shawng was arrested for unlawful association with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Ma Hka said he requested the court to allow Lahtaw Brang Shawng to receive medical treatment by a doctor because for his mental health and for the court to record the wounds he received under torture.

He said Judge Myint Htoo denied the first request, but granted the second. 

The defendant appeared in the court in handcuffs. Ze Nyoi, Lahtaw Brang Shawng’s wife, said, “He seemed in fear of everybody. He seemed to have a mental illness. When he was sitting in the court, he laughed by himself. And he said he could not eat. He said that when he ate, his throat hurt too much.”

She said she believed hot objects were placed against his cheeks, because he had red scars on his face.

“And I found knife wounds on both of his thighs,” she said.

During the hearing, Police Officer Aung Mya Than said that Lahtaw Brang Shawng worked for the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) as a sergeant from 2004 to 2011.

Lahtaw Brang Shawng was arrested by Police Officer Kyaw Myo Naing from Police Station No. 1 on June 17 and was then transferred to a Military Affairs Security Unit. He was charged under section 17 (1) of the Unlawful Association Act for being a KIO member.

On July 6, more than 1,000 people including religious leaders in Myitkyina gathered to protest his arrest and demanded his unconditional release.

Lahtaw Brang Shawng is being held in Myitkyina Prison in Kachin State. The next hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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