Target: Thein Sein, President of Myanmar
Goal: Release four prisoners of conscience serving six-month sentences for peacefully protesting regarding electricity price hikes.
Four citizens of Myanmar have been arrested and sentenced to serve six-month prison sentences for participating in a peaceful protest. Sign the petition and demand that they be released immediately.
Thein Aung Myint and Saw Hla Aung, members of the Movement for Democracy Current Force (MDCF), were arrested at a peaceful demonstration they organized to protest proposed electricity price hikes. They submitted a request for a permit for the event, but the request was denied without any reason being given. Despite this, the men went ahead with the protest, which was quickly shut down by police.
Also arrested were Kyaw Myo Htun, a bystander who was not involved with the demonstration but was supportive of the protesters, and Khet Khet Tin, Thein Aung Myint’s wife, who told police not to use undue force while arresting her husband.
The four have been charged with protesting without permission and sentenced under Article 18 of Myanmar’s Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, which has come under fire from the international community due to its harsh restrictions on free speech and peaceful assembly. Reacting to pressures from human rights organizations and other countries, Myanmar amended the law in 2014, two years after its initial passage, but it still does not meet the standards set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Thein Aung Myint, Saw Hla Aung, Kyaw Myo Htun, and Khet Khet Tin are all prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately. Sign the petition demanding their freedom, and urge authorities in Myanmar to abolish or amend laws that are unnecessarily restrictive of free speech and peaceful assembly.
I am writing to call for the immediate release of Thein Aung Myint, Saw Hla Aung, Kyaw Myo Htun, and Khet Khet Tin, all of whom have been sentenced to six months in prison for violating Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. The law is unnecessarily restrictive and must therefore be drastically amended before any arrests it necessitates will be considered legitimate by both human rights organizations and the international community at large.
Thein Aung Myint and Saw Hla Aung, both members of the Movement for Democracy Current Force (MDCF), applied for a permit to hold a peaceful demonstration protesting a proposal to raise electricity prices. Their request was denied without any reason being given, and the men decided to go ahead with the protest, where they were both arrested. Also arrested were Kyaw Myo Htun, a bystander who was not involved with the protest but supported the protesters, and Thein Aung Myint’s wife Khet Khet Tin, who told police not to use excessive force while arresting her husband.
All four have received the harshest penalty the law allows–six months in jail–for protesting without permission. But their arrests and subsequent convictions are based wholly on a problematic law that is too often used to stifle free speech and peaceful protest. I therefore demand that they be released immediately, and that the law under which they were charged and convicted be drastically amended to reflect the international standards laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AlexVan via Pixabay