Karen Martyrs’ Day Activists Jailed for 15 Days

A judge at Kyauktada township court has sentenced Naw Ohn Hla and two Karen youth activists to 15 days in jail for holding an unauthorised Karen Martyrs’ Day celebration in Yangon.

The prominent Karen Women’s Union chairperson, along with Albert Cho and Thein Zaw Min, held the August 12 celebration in Maha Bandula park after authorities denied them permission.

The trio were released after the ruling on October 2 because they had already spent more than 15 days in custody. Naw Ohn Hla said after the verdict she would appeal the decision.

“The Yangon regional government and the departments worked together to chastise us, even though we did everything according to the law,” she said

“I won’t accept it. I will appeal. The court convicted us although everything we did was legal and lawful. The government is responsible for it,” she added.

About 400 people gathered in front of Kyauktada court during the verdict to support the trio.

The Karen National Union last month called for the activists to be acquitted.

Karen Martyrs’ Day commemorates the murder in 1950 of resistance leader Ba U Gyi, who is believed to have been killed by Tatmadaw soldiers.

Successive Myanmar governments have long objected to the use of the word martyrs to describe the ceremony.

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