Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hearing held in anti-Rohingya protest case

Thursday, 30 August 2012 13:54 Than Htike Oo

Rangoon (Mizzima) – A hearing was held in the Sanchaung Township Court on Tuesday in a case against the organizers of an anti-Rohingya protest held during the visit of UN Special Envoy on Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana to Burma in early August.

So far, only prosecution witnesses have been heard, Aung Naing Tun, one of the defendants, told Mizzima.

Protesters hold banners bearing the message “We support our President’s statement on Rohingya,” sing the Burmese national anthem and shout anti-Rohingya slogans in front of the UNHCR office in Rangoon on Friday, August 3, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The Sanchaung Township Police Chief Mya Aung brought the case against Aung Naing Tun, Win Myint Aung (aka Win Khant), Myo Min Soe and Thura Tun, who organized the protest without permission, according to the charge.

At the next hearing, scheduled for Sept. 7, the defendants will be questioned for the first time.

On July 31, protest organizers applied for a protest permit at the Sanchaung Township Police Station, but police refused to grant permission. The defendants then applied for a permit at the Rangoon Region Police Force, but it was also rejected.

Aung Naing Tun said that on August 3, about 50 protestors staged the demonstration, using slogans such as “We don’t want Rohingya,” “We oppose international media’s one-sided reporting,” and “We support the President’s speech saying Rohingya to be settled in camps.”

Aung Naing Tun said they staged the protest during Quintana’s visit because, “We thought that expressing our feelings during the UN Special Envoy Mr. Quintana’s visit is more effective than expressing our feeling when he is away.”

The penalty for holding a public demonstration without permission can carry a one-year prison sentence or fine up to 30,000 kyat (US$ 34) or both.

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