NGO says Myanmar’s 221 political prisoners include a 14-year-old

Jailed - Didi Naung Latt and Langyaw Gamsai. Photo: Commander in Chief Army Office/Facebook

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) issued its monthly report which says the number of prisoners arrested for political activities has reached 221 in Myanmar until the end of October 2017 and includes a 14-year-old boy.

For their political activities, a total 45 political prisoners are serving their sentences, 45 political activists are facing trial in judicial custody and 127 are facing trial on bail, according to the tally for October the report issued by AAPP on November 16 says.

In October alone, two were arrested under section 8 of the Export and Import Act, one was arrested under section 17 (1)(2) of the Unofficial Associations Act, one was arrested under section 505(b) of the Penal Code and one was arrested under section 19 of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law, totaling five.

Two ethnic Kachin pastors were sentenced under section 8 of Export and Import Act and under section 17(1) of Unlawful Associations Act and one of them was given an additional prison term under section 500 of Penal Code. Moreover, a 14-year-old schoolboy political activist was sentenced under section 17(1) of Unlawful Associations Act and section 505(b) and (c) of Penal Code.

The AAPP report issued in October says that continuation of outdated and repressive laws amounts to the violation of fundamental rights and right to freedom and it is also contrary to international and domestic laws.

The NGO said the Myanmar government had not yet responded to their call for either repealing or amending these repressive laws.  

The report further says that the incidents that happened in October clearly show that fundamental rights of freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of association and joining these associations continue to be violated under the National League for Democracy-led government that took office in 2016.

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