AAPP Calls for Political Freedom in the Lead up to the November 8 Elections (2015)
AAPP calls for political freedom in the lead up to the November 8 election
October 22, 2015
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) calls for the right to political freedom to be upheld in the lead-up to the election and for an end to the arrests of members and supporters of opposition parties.
On October 17, Myat Nu Khaing, an independent election candidate in Phyu Township, Bago Region, was arrested while taking a break from her campaigning activities. Her charges relate to her alleged participation in a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon on December 29 2014, in which protestors demanded authorities investigate the death of a protester during anti-mining protests in Letpadaung. She is currently detained in Insein Prison and faces a range of charges under the Penal Code as well as under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. Myat Nu Khaing has been denied bail and faces up to nine years and nine months in prison.
Given that Myat Nu Khaing’s charges come 10 months after the alleged offence, AAPP believes that her arrest is politically motivated and intends to minimize the voice of opposition. Four protestors that were charged under similar provisions in May for participation in the same protest have already received sentences up to four years and four months imprisonment.
Furthermore, on October 11, four people were charged under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act for their involvement in a procession in Monywa, Sagaing Division in which around 100 trishaw drivers expressed support for the NLD.
The arrests of members and supporters of the opposition is an overt attempt by authorities to suppress freedom of expression and dissent in the lead up to the election. For a free and fair election it is imperative that political parties are able to communicate with voters and freely express their opinions. If the government has any desire to claim that the coming elections are free and fair they must immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, including Myat Nu Khaing before the election and put an end to this tirade of harassment against opposition candidates and supporters.
Tate Naing, AAPP Secretary: +66 (0) 81-2878751
Bo Kyi, AAPP Joint Secretary: +95 (0) 9-425308840
Email: [email protected]