Karenni Youth Activist Charged, Arrested, Remanded to Jail

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‘History will decide’ who is right in the political struggle between youth protesters and the state government, an activist says.

By NAW DWE EL KHU / KANTARAWADDY TIMES

A Karenni youth activist arrested and charged with violating Act 10 of the State Protection Law has been remanded to jail for two weeks without bail, and is set to face trial on June 17.

Khu Kyu Hpae Kay—also known as Gu Gu—was arrested on June 2 while traveling to Hpruso and has since been detained in the state capital of Loikaw.

“This case is not finished even though they have arrested me. This is a national affair,” Khu Kyu Hpae Kay told Kantarawaddy Times from the Loikaw Myoma police station on Monday.

The case, he explained, is the issue of what should happen with a controversial statue of Gen Aung San in a public park in the city. Karenni youth activists have demanded its removal through protest and negotiation; the authorities have refused.

Six Karenni youth activists released a statement on March 25 accusing the Karenni State chief minister and finance minister of being traitors to the Karenni people and “enemies” of ethnic unity, because of their stance on keeping the statue against popular will.

Government member U Thet Naung opened a case at the Loikaw Myoma police station on May 17 suing the six activists and accusing them of violating the State Protection Law.

“The Karenni youth activists released the statement long before the negotiations with the government for the removal of the General’s statue,” youth activist Khun Bernard Bok said. “They are not honest. As youths, we are very clear… History will decide.”

Khun Bernard Bok described the state government as having “repeatedly broke their promises,” and “condemn[ed]” them.

Village authorities and police officers have been searching for the six youth activists since May 17, looking through their homes. The list of those charged has been made public and includes:

Ko Sit Mone (also known as Deede), Myo Hlaing Win, John Paul, Khu Ree Du, Khu Kyu Hpae Kay and Khun Thomas.

If convicted of violating Act 10 of the State Protection Law, they will be sentenced to a period of six months to three years in prison and fined up to 1.5 million kyat.

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