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Two Student Protesters in Myanmar’s Rakhine State Sentenced to Year in Prison

Anti-war protesters march in Sittwe, capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, in an Oct. 19, 2020 photo-Photo Courtesy: RFA

A court in Myanmar’s Rakhine state sentenced two anti-war student protesters to a year in jail on Wednesday, hurrying them from the courtroom before family members could see them or hear the court’s verdict, sources said on Thursday.

Kyaw Ye Thu, president of the Student Union of Pyay University, and Htet Aung, vice president of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABSFU), were convicted under Section 505(b) of Myanmar’s Penal Code and immediately sent to jail.

Previous court sessions had begun at 10:00, but proceedings on Wednesday began at 9:30, leaving the students no time to meet with family members, Kyaw Thu’s uncle Ashin Obatha told RFA’s Myanmar Service on Thursday.

“The court’s decision was announced earlier [than expected], and it appears they did this deliberately so that we couldn’t see them,” Ashin, a Buddhist monk, said. ”The police put them in jail immediately, and we went to the jail from the court, but the families couldn’t see them.”

“Only about five minutes was spent in the court,” added a supporter named Ko Paing. “We then followed the prison truck from the court to the jail, as we weren’t sure about their sentence.”

“When they arrived at the jail, they were pushed into the building as soon as they got off the truck,” Ko Paing said. “And when we shouted out to ask what their sentence was, the police shouted back ‘One year.’ Their parents weren’t allowed to see them.”

Lawyers representing the students said the trial had not been conducted in line with Article 366(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which calls for judgments in every trial to be pronounced in open court. Rights groups in Myanmar have criticized the lack of transparency in the country’s judiciary, calling it a form of oppression incompatible with Myanmar’s NLD-led government.

Usually, people know what the prison term will be when they hear the court’s decision, but no one heard it this time, so we didn’t know how long they would be in jail,” said defense attorney Phyu Phyu Win.

“We didn’t hear the prosecution’s charges, statements from the accused, any of the evidence presented against them, or any discussion of what law they may have violated. The trial was not held in line with Article 366(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code,” she said.

Sources say that charges under the code are often used to stifle political dissent by criminalizing the use of statements and report with the intent to induce soldiers to rebel or fail in their duties, or to induce someone to commit an offense against the state of disrupt public tranquility.

Each charge carries punishments of up to two years in jail, or a fine, or both.

‘Incompatible with democracy’

Rights groups have criticized the statute as incompatible with democracy, saying its provisions are vaguely written and could be used arbitrarily to restrict freedom of expression.

Continued use of courts and vague laws to stifle critics has been seen as a black mark on democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s five-year tenure as her country’s first civilian leader after five decades of harsh military rule. Voters gave her a second five-year term in general elections on Nov. 8.

Maung Saung Kha, a member of the youth-led Athan human rights watch group, said the students’ trial was like trialseld under Myanmar’s previous military government, adding that they had been charged under harsh laws only for a leafleting campaign and were “discriminated against” in various ways during their trial.

“It should never have been this way,” he said.

“We now have more political prisoners, because activists are being put into jails like chickens or birds,” said Thinzar Shunlei Yi from the Action Committee for Democracy Development said, adding that the numbers of those in jail will continue to grow “as long as students, Rakhine people, and other activists are treated unjustly.”

“These kinds of movements will not stop even if the authorities put them in jail,” she said.

On Oct. 19, four student protesters from the Rakhine Students Union were arrested in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe and charged under Section 505(b) for demanding an end to the war between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army (AA) that has raged in northern Rakhine and in the Paletwa township of neighboring Chin state since late 2018.

Another 14, most of them members of the ABFSU, were arrested in September, with around 30 others going into hiding to avoid arrest.

The students have staged anti-war demonstrations and stuck leaflets on utility poles in several cities since Sept. 10, including Myanmar’s second-largest city Mandalay, Pakokku in Magway region, and Monywa in Sagaing region.

Nearly 300 civilians have died in the conflict, while more than 640 have been injured and 220,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

Reported by Zarni Htun for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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India COVID-19 News

28 February 2021
India Coronavirus Cases:11,096,731  Deaths:157,051
How to identify Fake News or Messages on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is the duplicate one might be or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

Follow WHO guidelines

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

Without evidence or with fake evidence, a conspiracy theory will always remain a conspiracy theory.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us or Whats App:+916289017966

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