13 Rakhine villagers released after 11 months detention

Narinjara News, 24 January 2020

Thirteen Rakhine villagers, including a woman from Paletwa township of southern Chin State were released by Sittwe township court on Friday.

Senior lawyer U  Tun Hla, who defended them in the court informed that the judge announced their release as there was no substantial proof against the villagers.

The court heard several witnesses but could not find any evidence against them that they had links  with Arakan Army. So they were unconditionally released, he added.

Altogether 26 villagers were arrested by the Myanmar Army on 4 February 2019 from Kyauk Taw town, 80 miles north of Sittwe.

They were picked up by the security personnel from Daw Hla Hla Yee’s house at the downtown area of Kyauk Taw. The house owner (Daw Hla Hla Yee) with her husband (U Thein Soe) was also arrested as they gave shelter to them without the prior permission.

The family originally hails from Chil Letwa village under Paletwa township but lately they have shifted to  Kyauk Taw for business interests.

Later 13 villagers were released by the authority without any charges. But the rest of villagers  were charged by the Myanmar Army  under the unlawful associations act 17 (A) suspecting their links with Arakan Army, added the senior lawyer.

Daw Hla Hla Yee was also released by the court but she lamented that the detention (for 11 months) was very harmful to her business.

But she refused to speak more about it. However, she hinted that many young people are still inside the Sittwe prison under fake accusations. She also requested the human rights group to make efforts for their early release.