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Jailed for protesting KNPP deaths, Karenni youths walk free

Five men arrested last month for an unauthorised protest were released on Wednesday after serving their sentences in Loikaw, Kayah State.

Five Karenni men were released from Loikaw Prison on Wednesday after serving 20-day sentences for violating Burma’s Peaceful Assembly Law, and the day prior three other men who were arrested for holding a subsequent solidarity protest were informed that the prosecution was dropping their case.

The five men were arrested last month for an unauthorised demonstration that they staged to protest the alleged killing of a civilian and three members of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) by Burmese troops.

“The five men were released after serving their terms. The court dismissed the charges against the three of us as well,” said Khun Bee Du, the Kayan National Party chairman, who was part of the solidarity protest. “I am glad that the government has caved in to the demands regarding the case. We will see whether or not the government conducts a just investigation into the arbitrary killings of the four men.”

Khun A-Than, a central committee member of the Kayan New Generation Youth, and Khun Tu Reh, chair of the Karenni State Farmers Union, were arrested along with Khun Bee Du for their solidarity protest on 5 January.

Burmese government forces have been accused of killing the Karenni troops and civilian during a 19 December raid on a KNPP outpost in Loikaw district, Kayah State.