Kachin Activist Who Handed Broken Scales to Judge Released
MANDALAY – A Kachin activist who was jailed for giving broken scales to a judge in Myitkyina Township Court was released from Myitkyina Prison in Kachin State on Monday after completing his sentence.
Ko Paul was sentenced to three and a half months in prison after organizing a street performance in June to mark the eighth anniversary of the renewal of armed conflict in Kachin State.
“Since our country is on its way towards democratization, we need to use freedom of expression as a human right. I will push more to amend the laws which bar freedom of expression,” Ko Paul told the media outside the prison after his release on Monday.
Kachin activists, family and friends welcomed Paul, also known as “Scale Paul”, for handing a set of broken scales to a judge.
Ko Paul was initially sentenced to 15 days in prison, along with Ma Seng Nu Pan, under Article 19 of the Peaceful Assembly Law on Sept. 2 in Myitkyina Township Court.
After sentencing, he gave broken scales to Judge U Than Tun to show his dissatisfaction with the sentence, claiming it represented the collapse of the judiciary.
The judge then opened another lawsuit for disturbing the duties of a civil servant and for insulting and disrespecting the court. He was jailed for a further three months on Sept. 6.
Ko Paul called for legal changes to protect freedom of expression and human rights.
“The parliamentarians are responsible for amending the laws which disturb the democratization of the country. If we cannot amend those laws which bar us from freedom of expression, the democracy we achieve will not be genuine,” he added.
FROM : IRRAWADDY