The formal withdrawal of charges in the high-profile “unlawful association” case involving three journalists and three others in Shan State’s Hsipaw Township was postponed on Monday, with the legal bureaucracy delaying their official exoneration for another several days.
In a surprise Friday announcement, the Tatmadaw said that it will be dropping charges it had brought against six journalists, including a high-profile “unlawful association” case it had brought against two reporters from DVB and one from The Irrawaddy news outlet.
Bail was denied for a second time on Friday at the fourth hearing in the case of three journalists and three other defendants facing charges at a court in Shan State under Burma’s Unlawful Associations Act.
The third hearing in the case of a trio of detained journalists and three civilians on charges of “unlawful association” was held on Friday, with two of the prosecution’s witnesses failing to appear before the court despite being scheduled to do so.
Three journalists and three other defendants facing charges under Burma’s Unlawful Associations Act were denied bail Friday at their second hearing in Hsipaw Township, Shan State, where the high-profile case continued and the defendants’ detention stretched into its sixth week.
The trial of three journalists and three other men accused of “unlawful association” with an ethnic armed group began in earnest on Friday, with a court in Hsipaw Township, Shan State, taking testimony from the case’s plaintiff, an army major.
A member of the Lower House of Parliament has submitted an urgent proposal to denounce the findings of Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma. The proposal was approved for further discussion by Lower House Speaker Win Myint.
UN human rights envoy Yanghee Lee offered stern words for the Burmese government on Friday evening, urging it to reconsider its refusal to issue visas to a UN fact-finding mission tasked with probing alleged human rights abuses in Arakan State and elsewhere in Burma.
Legal experts suggest that the case brought against three detained journalists who are being charged under Burma’s Unlawful Associations Act lacks a sound basis upon which to pursue prosecution, given the specifics of the colonial-era legislation’s provisions.
The European Union on Monday urged Burma to protect journalists from “intimidation, arrest or prosecution” after several cases of reporters running into trouble with the law, including three detained by the army last week.
One civilian was killed on Tuesday and hundreds more were displaced in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme district as fighting broke out between the Shan State Army-South, a nationwide ceasefire agreement signatory group, and the non-signatory Ta’ang National Liberation Army.