One More Charge for Min Ko Naing and 88 Generation Students Group

Min Ko Naing and 34 members of the 88 Generation Students are facing 21 trials with dozens of charges, which will lead up to over 150 years imprisonment, since August 2008. Their cases were heard by two District Courts and seven Township Courts, held inside the Insein Prison Compound. Since October 15, 2008, all Township Courts handed over the cases to three District Courts, which are Rangoon Eastern District Court, Rangoon Western District Court and Rangoon Northern District Court. These three District Courts are hearing the cases inside Insein Prison Compound. As they are instructed to wrap up the cases by the authorities, the court hearings are held at least two or three days a week.

Last Friday, on Oct 24, 2008, Rangoon Northern District Court held a hearing against Min Ko Naing and group. All student leaders stood up and asked the judge to allow their family members to attend the hearing. Security was very tight. Armed security forces were present outside and inside the Insein Prison Compound and around the Special Court. Further, dozens of armed police stood behind all defendants in the Court room. When the student leaders stood up and demanded for their rights, the police prosecutor asked the judge to take action against the defendants for contempt of the court and the judge instructed the armed police to force them down to sit. Later, the judge decided to adjourn the hearing and instructed the police to remove defendants from the court room. Before they left the room, the judge told them that they would be charged with Section 228 of the Penal Code, for contempt of the court.

Their trial continued on Monday, Oct 27. Many defendants began to withdraw their attorney power from their lawyers, as they believe it is not a fair trial. Some refused to answer the questions of the prosecutors. Security was still tight and the defendants are concerned for their safety. Trial will continue on Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008.

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