The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) has called for the dropping of criminal charges against nine farmers, including a 12-year-old boy, from Ho Pong in southern Shan State.
They were arrested by the Burma Army between July 15 and August 4, 2017, on suspicion of links to a Shan armed group.
The eight adults are being detained in Ho Pong police station, but only six have so far been taken to court in Ho Pong, where lack of cooperation by the Burma Army plaintiffs have continuously delayed court proceedings.
The 12-year-old boy (caught in possession of a walkie-talkie) was detained for three weeks until his parents learned he was being kept in Ho Pong police station.
He was released on August 5, but has been called to court over ten times, according to a press release by the Shan Human Rights Foundation.
"The accused are facing financial difficulty to pay for lawyers’ fees, food while in jail, and travel costs of their families to visit them from their villages – up to a day’s journey away," said the Foundation's press release. Several are suffering from health problems, having been tortured after arrest.
The farmers were arrested during a military operation by hundreds of Tatmadaw Army troops in northern Ho Pong township after a clash on July 14.
The nine farmers were arrested for possession of items such as walkie-talkies, mobile phones, hunting rifles and bullets, even though these items are used by local villagers for everyday purposes.