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Two local officials for the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and a member of 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88GPOS) stood trial on Thursday in Magwe Division for using a loudspeaker during a rally without first obtaining permission from the local authorities.
On 9 June, the NLD and 88GPOS led a rally in Magwe Division’s capital in an effort to raise support for the amendment of Article 436. NLD’s Magwe town chairman Soe Moe, secretary Nay Myo Kyaw and Maung Maung Soe of 88GPOS subsequently found themselves charged under a local administrative law that prohibits unauthorised amplification.
Soe Moe told DVB that the statement from the prosecutor, Htwe Ko – the deputy superintendent police major in Magwe – differed from the account provided in previous hearings.
“During the hearing, I asked the prosecutor to repeat the date that he filed the lawsuit. His answer was different from the last time around, which shows that he doesn’t know many details about my alleged involvement in the case,” Soe Moe said.
He added that the officer then admitted that this case originated because another person had informed him about this situation.
“I asked him if the lawsuit was prompted by a public compliant and he said that was not the case. So basically, there is no one complaining to prompt this lawsuit, and I can only assume that there has been pressure from above,” Soe Moe said.
If found guilty, the trio could face up to seven days in prison.
Nay Myo Kyaw, the NLD’s Magwe division secretary, is also facing legal action from Magwe Division’s Religious Affairs department for organising the 9 June rally on a plot of land that the department apparently owns.
In recent months, the NLD has taken on the amendment of constitutional Article 436 – which gives veto power to the Burmese military on any amendment proposed – as a cornerstone of their political platform, traveling from state to state to garner support from the population.