On 11 May 2015, Vietnamese authorities announced that Mr. Kim Quoc Hoa, the former editor-in-chief of Nguoi Cao Tuoi (The Elderly) will be charged under Article 258 of the Penal Code for “abusing freedom and democracy to infringe upon the interests of the state”. Furthermore, public Security Department issued a request for a search warrant on Mr. Hoa’s home in Hanoi. On 12 May 2015, both the notice of intent to prosecute and the search warrant were approved by the Supreme Peoples’ Procuratorate and delivered to Mr. Hoa. The Elderly published several articles covering official corruption in recent months.
On April 28, Ms. Maria Chin Abdullah, Executive Director (ED) of Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) and Mr. Mandeep Singh, member of the BERSIH 2.0 Secretariat, programme manager, were arrested and later released after questioning over their roles in the #KitaLawan rally on March 28. Both of them were investigated under section 143 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly.
On 30 April 2015, the cases against three ‘fugitive’ student activists Myat Thu, Ye Tint Kyaw and Kyaw Ko Ko were also formally heard, The hearing involved formal procedures such as transferring powers of attorney and setting a hearing of the case against three activists. Meanwhile, 70 activists were yet to be heard. Activists have appeared in Tharawaddy Court were arrested for their part in an education protest on 10 March 2015.
UPDATE 16 June 2015
On 16 June 2015, 70 activists appeared in Tharawaddy district court for their 7th hearing. Several of the accused sought bail, with applications accepted by the court pending approval. Protest leader Min Thwe Thit told DVB that the incarcerated activists were denied medical assistance, and even when they received treatment in prison, the diagnoses was often wrong. Tin Win, who collapsed in Tharawaddy courthouse on 3 June, has received surgery at Rangoon General Hospital. He reportedly received injuries to his neck and ribs after being beaten by police at Letpadan. After collapsing on 10 June when he attended a court hearing, fellow activist Khin Hlaing was hospitalised and found to be suffering from a gastrointestinal rupture. Several other students in Tharawddy prison are still bruised from the beating they received at their arrest and are in need of medical attention.
On 23 April 2015, Mr. Thein Aung Myint, a member of the Myanmar Democratic Current Force (MDCF), was sentenced to six months in prison with labour under Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law for organising a public protest without official permission in Mandalay. He was accused of leading a demonstration last year, demanding justice after the killing in military custody of journalist Par Gyi.
On 30 March 2015, Mr. Lionel Morais, managing editor of the Malaysian Insider, Mr. Amin Shah Iskandar, Bahasa news editor and Mr. Zulkifli Sulong, features and analysis editor, were arrested under the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act. On 31 March 2015, chief executive of the Malaysian Insider, Jahabar Sadiq and Ho Kay Tat, publisher of the Edge, business weekly and CEO of the Edge Media Group which owns the Malaysian Insider were also arrested under the same two laws. All five were questioned about “inaccurate and confusing” reports published by the Malaysian Insider.
Thailand: military filed lawsuit against villager for posting photo of military’s forced eviction
March 27, 2015
On 24 March 2015, Mr. Adisak Yimram, an employee of the forest fire protection unit was summoned by the military officers from Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) of the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. The officers filed a lawsuit against Mr. Yimram under article 14 of the Computer Crime Code for importing false information into a computer system.
Burma: 2 HRDs were sentenced for protesting
March 25, 2015
On 23 March 2015, Mr. Thein Aung Myint and Mr. Saw Hla Aung, members of the Movement for Democracy Current Force (MDCF) were sentenced for 6 months under article 18 of the peaceful assembly law. MDCF is a community-based organisation that campaigns against land-grabbing and other human rights violations.
On 16 March 2015, Ms. Nurul Izzah Anwar, the eldest daughter of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and member of Parliament, was arrested by the police under the Sedition Act for her remarks made in Parliament.
UPDATE: 17 March 2015, she was released after being arrested and remanded overnight under the Sedition Act.
On 10 March 2015, the High Court of Malaysia ordered that trial against Ms. Lena Hendry, Programme Coordinator for Pusat KOMAS, be suspended pending a decision of the Federal Court as to whether the Film Censorship Act 2002, under which she has been charged, is constitutional.
UPDATE: On 10 March 2016, Lena Hendry has finally been acquitted of the charge of screening a film on the Sri Lankan killing fields. The magistrate found that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against her. However, the authorities can still appeal this decision.
UPDATE: On September 21 2016, the High Court reversed Lena Hendry’s acquittal and ordered a resumption of the case after the government appealed. If convicted, Lena Hendry faces up to 3 years in prison.
Burma: about 50 detained students and activists face five criminal charges following protest against education reform
March 13, 2015
On 11 March 2015, about 50 students and activists who were arrested during protests against the National Education Law appeared in Letpadan Township court and were charged with a variety of offences under the penal code, including rioting and unlawful assembly. Their next court appearance is scheduled for 25 March.