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Three Students Arrested for Distributing Anti-Muslim Pamphlets

Three students who were arrested in Thandwe in Arakan State, allegedly for distributing anti-Muslim pamphlets in the area were produced in court on the 14th of August.

The welcome signboard in the entrance gate of Thandwe. ( Photo- Narinjara)“The three of them were arrested, not for distributing anti-Muslim pamphlets, but simply photocopies of the written materials that are published by Muslims themselves urging other Muslim men to marry Burmese women with respective nuptial rewards depending on the family classes of women. They were produced in court for the first time on the 14 August”, said Ko Tun Phay, a family member of the one of the students.

They are identified as 20-year old Nyi Min Khant, son of U Ba Thein, Naing Ray Oo, son of U Aung Tun Kyi, and 17-year old Khine Kyaw San, son of U Min Zaw. All are residents of downtown Thandwe. Two of them are the students of correspondence courses at Sittwe University while another one is a class-ten student.

They are said to have been arrested by local police along with an another student who is identified as Ko Thant Sin Phyo, a student of the General Techniques College in Thandwe, on the 16th of July for distributing and possessing those written materials.

They were released after brief detention, but then were re-arrested on 20th of July.

The GTC student Ko Thant Sin Phyo was released on bail while the remaining three were charged under section 505 (B) and are still being held in the local police station.

“The court examined the persecution witnesses during a hearing on the 14th of June. The statements of the witnesses were not so bad. A woman known as Thin Thin Myat and three police corporals still remain to be examined and the court has appointed the next hearing to be held on the 24th of August”, added Ko Tun Phay.

The townships acting in-charge of police, Aung Thaung Lay, is said to be the main plaintiff, prosecuting the students under section 505 (B) of distributing illegal documents.

According to the source, there was no lawyer for the students on the first day of their court hearing, but a local female lawyer Daw Khin San Myint has now been allowed by the court to serve for them in the coming hearings.

When Narinjara contacted to the police station in Thandwe, the police officer on duty put down the phone only stating, “they were arrested for their offenses”.

It is learnt that dissatisfaction with the police is growing amongst the town residents as the police have prosecuted the students under section 505 (B) and also as they released then arrested again the students.