Judges Hear Final Witnesses in Karenni Anti-Statue Case

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A decision on whether to proceed with the case is due in two weeks.


Judges in the case of six Karenni youths opposed to a decision to erect a statue of Burmese independence hero Aung San in the Karenni State capital Loikaw have concluded hearing witness testimony and will soon decide on whether to proceed with the case.

At today’s hearing at the Loikaw Township court, judges heard the testimony of police officer Zaw Moe Oo, who was the final witness for the plaintiff.

The six defendants have been charged with violatingArticle 10 of Burma’s Citizens Privacy and Security Law for accusingthose involved in putting up the statue of being political criminals, traitors to the Karenni people, and enemies of ethnic unity.

“The judges finished hearing the testimony of the last of six witnesses for the plaintiff today [August 1]. They will make a decision on whether to continue with the case on August 15,” Khun Thomas, one of the defendants, toldKantarawaddy Times.

“Regardingthis, I want to say that we are being detained in LoikawPrison, and that our statement and these charges are completely unrelated. Every witnessknows this, and we also know it.

Therefore, we arewaiting to see what will happen,” he added.Khun Thomas said that whatever the outcome of the case, he would continue working for the cause of Karenni unity.

“I am sure we will continue our activities against the statue of General Aung San sooner or later. We are working for our Karenni history. We will continue our activities to discover the truth of Karenni history,” he said.

“We are not attacking the peoplewho have power. We are trying to have unity among our ethnic brothers. We are trying to report the truth. What I want to say is that the authorities have strongly blocked freedom of speech under thisgovernment,” he added.

On March 25, the six youths accused Kayah(Karenni) State’s chief ministerEl PhoungSho and Finance MinisterMaw Mawof being enemies of ethnic unity and betrayers of Karenni nationals, leading to a case being opened against them at LoikawMyoma police station on May 17.Many Karenni youths attended today’s hearing to offer support for the defendants.

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