Farmers Ask for the Establishment of Lesser Penalties in the Tamattaw’s Amendment Imposing Additional Fine on Farmers

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Kantarawaddy Times

The farmers asked to consider for the establishment of lesser penalties in the military’s additional fine on farmers amendment submitted to the High Court of Kayah State.

Ko Dee De from Karenni State Farmer Union (KSFU) said, “Present time is farming season particularly. What I want to say is it is totally unfair to cause such distress upon farmers while farmers are struggling for their living. Those farmers are the victims. So, I want both the government and Tamattaw to reconsider about it.”

In last March, the Loikaw Township Court sentenced the farmers with fine and imprisonment concerned with the allegation which the Artillery Corps-356 and Light Infantry Battalion-250 sued to (19) farmers from 3-Mile Pa Kyel, Myay Ni Kone, Daw Mu Klar, Loikaw Township, and (3) members of Karenni State Farmer Union (KSFU).

On June 2nd, the High Court of the State summoned the farmers to court for their signature due to the military’s amendment to High Court of the State in order to fine the farmers more since they (military) were not satisfied with the previous penalty sentenced by Loikaw Township Court.

The Tamattaw officers from two battalions sued the farmers and the members of KSFU with Article 447 and 427 of the Penal Code for trespassing and causing damage, Article 6 (1) – causing damage on national property, Article 353 – harassment act, and Article 294 – obscene acts. These were sued since mid-year of 2019.

Related to the prosecuted cases, it was dismissed with farmers paying the charged fine. Among those cases, the victims were sentenced for 6 months in prison and fine twenty thousand kyats for Article 6(1) – causing damage on national property where it can be sentenced up. to 7 years in prison, 15 days in prison and fine twenty thousand kyats for Article 447, and fine twenty thousand kyats for the rest articles respectively.

Since the original plaintiffs were not satisfied with the sentence made by Township Court in March, they further their amendment to District Court. Then the District Court have dismissed the case in brief manner.

Among the (22) defendants, one of the defendants from KSFU who have supported and worked for farmer affair, Bwe Mu, said that the amendment is unfairly suppressed.

“In case of this amendment established based on their unsatisfaction and assumption as unfair sentence, I see it as intentionally suppressing the farmers,” he said.

When Kantarawaddy Times phoned to the Colonel of Eastern Command about the case amended by the officers of Artillery Corps-356 and Light Infantry Battalion-250, he replied he knows nothing and recommended to contact with the person-in-charge from Loikaw.

Although we tried to ask to the Kayah State Regional Military Command (RMC), they replied it is only concerned with the battalion.

The farmers signed on the amendment form at High Court of the State on June 25th, and it said they will announce the next appointment on Facebook page of the High Court of Kayah State.

It has been known that the Artillery Corps-356 and Light Infantry Battalion-250 have camped during 1990’s at 3-Mile Pa Kyel, Myay Ni Kone, Daw Muklar region and confiscated it in order to build their camp.

There was a conflict occurred between the military and farmers in response to the action of military erecting landmark and fencing with concrete on the farmland which the farmers have cultivated for many years on the extra unused land from the confiscated land, but in 2019 the military restricted the farmers from cultivating on it. Due to the conflict, the military sued 19 farmers including the three members who have supported and worked for farmer affair.

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