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Veteran activist detained on old charge

Well-known land rights activist Su Su Nway. (PHOTO: Su Su Nway).

Long-time labour activist Su Su Nway has again been arrested by authorities, this time in Mandalay’s Pyin Oo Lwin Township, for organising a land grab protest without police permission.

Ko Marki, Su Su Nway‘s husband and a leading member of the activist 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88GPOS), told DVB that she was arrested on Sunday as she returned to the town to attend a workshop on issues facing local farmers.

“Su Su Nway about a year and a half ago organised a protest in Pyin Oo Lwin against land grabs by business companies who tied up and tortured local farmers who originally owned the land. Now she has been arrested upon return to the town,” Ko Marki said.

Today, Su Su Nway appeared at the local court facing a charge under Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law.

Ko Marki said that she had returned to the town several times in the past year after the charge against was pressed – but that until now, police had made no effort to detain her.

“Su Su Nway had returned to Pyin Oo Lwin numerous times in the past year but the police never took action. I find it contentious that they are only arresting her now when there is about to be a change in government,” he added.

“I assumed the current government wants to push ahead to conclusion their unfair trial against activists before the new government takes office. I say the absence of the rule of law in Burma is off the charts right now.”

In July this year, Su Su Nway was charged with trespassing in Pegu’s Intagaw Township, reportedly for assisting local farmers.

The farmers claimed the Burmese army had confiscated around 5,000 acres of their land. She was detained by police as she was traveling past the town, and later sentenced to 15 days in prison.