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Student protests: 13 denied bail

Student activists wave to reporters as they arrive at Tharawaddy court for a hearing on 2 June 2015. (PHOTO: DVB)

Thirteen student activists were denied bail on Tuesday at the seventh pre-trial hearing for those arrested for taking part in education reform protests in the Pegu town of Letpadan in March.

The 13 are among 68 due to face trial at Tharawaddy district courthouse on charges of sedition – under Penal Code Article 505 (b) – and four other offences relating to demonstrations that culminated in a police crackdown in Letpadan on 10 March but which had begun two months earlier in Mandalay before spreading nationwide.

Robert San Aung, lawyer for a number of detainees, confirmed that the court had denied bail for 13 students.

“The court rejected all requests for bail on the grounds that bail cannot be granted under Article 505(b),” he said. “The judge also noted that students’ exams are not scheduled for some time yet.”

A civilian defendant identified as Tin Win collapsed at the hearing, allegedly from injuries he sustained at the violent crackdown on 10 March, his wife Myint Myint Gyi told DVB.

“My husband has been unable to eat since last Thursday as he was still suffering from injuries sustained in the crackdown when he was repeatedly kicked and hit on his back, and sustained internal injuries,” said Myint Myint Gyi, adding that Tin Win was taken to Tharawaddy hospital after fainting in court.

The judge on Tuesday heard the cross-examination of police officers who are standing as prosecution witnesses in the trial.