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Dala NLD youth member jailed

Jan 23, 2009 (DVB), The mother of recently imprisoned Dala National League for Democracy youth coordinator Htet Soe Linn has accused local authorities of framing her son to put a stop to his political activities.

Htet Soe Linn was imprisoned for two and a half years on Wednesday for disrupting a public official on duty, despite a request by the prosecutor to drop the case.

Win Myint said Htet Soe Linn was first arrested in September 2008 and accused of being involved in a fight between his younger brother Thet Paing Linn and a special police officer.

"On 23 September, Thet Paing Linn got into a quarrel with Special Police officer Kyaw Myo Win, but Htet Soe Linn wasn’t involved in the fight as he was asleep at home at the time," said Win Myint.

Htet Soe Linn was later released on bail pending his trial.

Dala township NLD secretary Tun Lwin, who went to of Htet Soe Linn’s court hearing on Wednesday, said the prosecutor had previously tried to drop the case against the youth member.

"The prosecutor, who is named Yazar, had already agreed to drop the case but the court judges and the police would not accept it so the hearing continued," said Tun Lwin.

Win Myint said a group of special police officers led by officer Ko Ko Aung then came to search their house on 11 January and they claimed to have found an explosive device in their compound.

"Ko Ko Aung and a group of special police officers came to our house at around 2am on 11 January and told Htet Soe Linn to go with them as they had some questions for him," said Win Myint.

"After Htet Soe Linn left the house with some of them, the rest began searching our house and Ko Ko Aung started digging in our compound and claimed he had found some explosives there."

Tun Lwin said Htet Soe Linn was then released again on 19 January as the court did not have enough evidence to build a case against him in connection with the explosive device.

On Wednesday, Htet Soe Linn, Thet Paing Linn and two other local youths were sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment by Dala township court on the earlier charges of disturbing a government official on duty.

Tun Lwin said Htet Soe Linn's case was another example of the dysfunctional justice system in Burma.

"This is a very ugly incident and discredits the image of the judicial system in Burma," he said.

"Now we can say there are two different groups of people in our country; the group which is above the law and the others who are abused by the law."

Reporting by Aye Nai