December 18, 2013

Three human rights activists, who were arrested in June, have been on hunger strike since 13th December. Khin Mi Mi Khaing, Myint Myint Aye and Thant Zin Htet were arrested for supporting farmers protests against land confiscation.

They have been on trial for more than six months. They have been refused bail, and faced more than 20 court hearings without a proper trial and verdict. They have gone on hunger strike to protest against their treatment by Burma’s judicial system.

Khin Mi Mi Khaing and Myint Myint Aye are leaders of two independent women’s networks in Burma, and Thant Zin Htet is a student activist. In June, they visited Pae Ma Khan village in Bago Division to show their support to farmers who ploughed land that had been confiscated from them. The Burmese Army had confiscated their land almost two decades ago.

They were arrested and charged under Section 6 of the 1988 Law Relating to the Formation of Organizations, and Thant Zin Htet was also charged under Article 18(b) of the Peaceful Assembly Law. They were denied bail and are being detained in Paung De prison. At court hearings, they are being treated as convicts, and Thant Zin Htet is being forced to wear handcuffs and iron shackles.

“The military-backed government still treats activists with no respect and lengthy trials are one of their tactics to intimidate activists to stop campaigning for democracy and human rights in the country,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “UK, EU and USA have gone ahead befriending the government, and dropped pressure for releases. Now political prisoners have been abandoned by the international community, so they are forced to go on hunger strike. These activists have committed no crime and they should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

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