On 2 June 2015, writer and former National League for Democracy (NLD) member Mr. Htin Linn Oo was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labour for a speech meant to discourage Buddhist extremism.H e strongly criticised the nationalist policies of the Buddhist monk-led group Ma-Ba-Tha, who refer to themselves collectively as the Organization to Protect Race and Religion and are becoming increasingly influential.
On 23 May 2015, Mr. Wai Yan Aung, teacher and one of the organisers of the ‘column’ of students’ march towards Rangoon from Irrawaddy Division in protest of the National Education Law, was sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour. He was convicted under Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law for organising a public protest without official permission.
On 26 May 2015, the Bangkok military court held the first witness hearing in the case where Mr. Worachet Pakeerut, law academic from Thammasat University and member of the Nitirat group, stands accused of twice defying NCPO’s orders to report.
On 26 May 2015, nine people, including three farmers’ rights activists, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to five months in connection with a plough protest held on military-held land in Mandalay Division’s Meikhtila District. The farmers had filed complaints several times with senior government officials but had been repeatedly ignored. In 2013, after staging a symbolic plough protest, they were arrested and charged with several counts including sedition. They have appeared in court over 70 times since. Tthe group has been transferred to Meikhtila prison where they will serve their terms.
On 27 May 2015, Mr. San Kim Heng, one of 11 opposition activists and lawmakers of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was questioned over his alleged role in a protest near the capital’s Freedom Park that turned violent on 15 July 2014.
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.