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Myanmar Court Sentences Journalist For Protesting Without a Permit

- - - - - court protesting journalist permit

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A Myanmar court sentenced a local journalist on Friday to 15 days in prison or pay a 10,000-kyat (U.S. $7.70) fine for participating in a public prayer event for persecuted reporters last November.
A court in Kyauktada Township in the commercial capital Yangon handed down the sentence to Shwe Hmone, senior reporter at the Thamaga News Journal, who was charged under Article 19 of the Peaceful Assembly Law for protesting without a permit in the quasi-civilian-run Southeast Asian nation.
Shwe Hmone and dozens of other activists prayed for the release of fellow reporters at the Sule pagoda in the city center on Nov. 2, 2014, to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
They also called for an end to repression against journalists and protection under existing laws, Shwe Hmone told RFA’s Myanmar Service.
“A lot of reporters were arrested and given heavy sentences in 2014, some of whom are still waiting for court verdicts; and because of this, people released fish and birds and held prayer sessions at pagodas,” she said.
Authorities previously had told Shwe Hmone to hold the prayer session at another venue on the city’s outskirts, but she defied them, she said.
“In my case, we believed we didn’t need to ask permission from [city] authorities to pray for our colleagues, so we did it,” she said.
Of the roughly 50 people who were arrested during the event, Shwe Hmone was the only one charged, she said.
Friends and well-wishers paid the fine for her, she said.

Shwe Hmone’s defense lawyers will file an appeal in the coming days, she told the online journal The Irrawaddy. http://www.rfa.org/e...2015164619.html

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