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Burmese protest leader sentenced to four months with hard labour

U Sein Than, who was charged in May 2014 as the leader of a protest camp, was sentenced to four months imprisonment with hard labour on August 19 at Latha Township court for what the authorities determined was an unauthorised protest held before his original May 21 court hearing.

Daw Saw Sandar, wife of the sentenced U Sein Than, told Mizzima on August 19 that on May 21, her husband had arrived at Latha Township court accompanied by a number of supporters dressed in the same outfit.

Daw Saw Sandar said the group had started their journey in Kyauktada and proceeded through Pabedan Township before reaching the court in Latha and had also visited the house of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Bahan Township on April 5. Officials from these four townships then chose to prosecute U Sein Than under the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Act.

The original case for which U Sein Than faces charges was the blocking of a public right of way, illegal under the Yangon City Development Committee Act, said Daw Saw Sandar. He was charged for his role in the Mi Choung Kan protest camp that sat beside Maha Bandoola Park in Kyauktada from March 24 to March 30, she said.

The protest site at Maha Bandoola Park Street was the scene of a 3am raid on March 30 by a group of people identifiable only by the red armbands they wore and their shared goal of destroying the 'Mi Choung Kan' protest camp. The camp – in front of the Yangon High Court – had previously housed about 200 people opposed to land seizures in Thingangkuun Township.

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