Four Arakanese community leaders convicted


( Kyauk Taw, 6 September 2013): Four Arakanese community leaders from Kyauk Taw in Arakan State have been convicted by the township court for their involvement in protest program against the government housing policy to the Muslim community.

The court has sentenced Daw Ma Hla May, U Maung Win, Daw Tin Tin Aye and U Maung Thein Hlaing  to three months of imprisonment on Wednesday.

U Soe Nyein, an Arakan State lawmaker from Kyauk Taw, a town located at upper Kaladan river, revealed that the court passed the verdict under the Act 18 related to the cases of procession.

Mentionable is that over 3000 Arakanese Buddhists marched on the streets of Kyauk Taw on 7 March 2013 to raise voices against the government’s housing plan for Muslim refugees, who were displaced from their villages last year during the sectarian violence of Arakan.

The protestors demanded the authority to scrutinize the beneficiaries whether they were genuine Burmese citizens or not accordance with 1982 citizenship law before providing them permanent shelters. .

The police in charge of Kyauk Taw township registered a case against them as they allegedly led the 7 March protest program in the town without the authority’s permission.

The convicted Arakanese community leaders were dispatched to Sittwe prison immediately by the police after the court pronounced the verdict.

Nearly 11 other community leaders, four from Kyauk Taw, three from Taungup, two each from Sittwe & Rathidaung of Arakan also faced similar charges as they too were allegedly led the protest demonstration against the government’s housing plan for the internally displaced people.

Similar fate is seemingly waiting for U Soe Win, U Min Tun and U Than Lwin Tun, who are facing charges of allegedly organizing protest demonstrations against the government’s housing plan and waiting for verdict from the Taungup township court.