By Phyu Phyu Zin Mizzima News Oct 16, 2014
Activist Phyu Hnin Htwe, seen here on her release October 15. Photo: Ko Toe Gyi/Mizzima Activist Phyu Hnin Htwe, seen here on her release October 15. Photo: Ko Toe Gyi/Mizzima
Ma Phyu Hnin Htwe, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, was released by the Yinmarbin District court on October 15 after kidnapping charges against the activist were dropped.
The 21-year-old activist and second-year student at Mandalay’s Yadanabon University had been charged with allegedly kidnapping two Chinese employees of Wanbao company that operates a copper mine in Latpadaung. She was charged September 13 in relation to an incident on May 18 when villagers took the two workers captive and then released them. She protested to the authorities that she was in another village at the time of the incident, and the charges against the villagers were unfair.
If convicted, she potentially faced up to 10 years in prison.
The controversial mine has been the focus of protests by villagers and rights groups over alleged environmental pollution and health problems that have arisen as a result of the project.
Ko Min Thwe Thit, a member of the students union, told Mizzima October 16 that Ma Phyu Hnin was innocent of the charges. He said she had raised the issues in court that she is a student, needed the chance to sit her examinations, and expressed her concern that the case would damage relations between Myanmar and China.
Ma Phyu Hnin Htwe said at the time of her arrest that she was just teaching the local residents’ children, helped the villagers to submit letters to the authorities, and went along to demonstrations against the Chinese company.
Ko Min Thwe Thit said that Ma Phyu Hnin Htwe will continue to be involved in the affairs of the Latpadaung villagers and the students union.