10/05/2016, 09.45
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Burma's parliament lifts military "gag law"

The Emergency Provisions Act allowed authorities to arrest without warrant. Those  found guilty  risked the death penalty for "treason" or "army sabotage." Parliamentary democracy: "Now we have a government of the people." But some activists also criticize the new government.


Naypyidaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Myanmar has repealed one of the laws used for decades by the military junta to silence political activists and opponents. The Emergency Provisions Act was approved in 1950, shortly after independence from Britain. According to this law, "traitors" and " army saboteurs " could be sentenced to life imprisonment or death, while they were penalties of up to seven years in prison for other crimes as "offending" the state.

With the Emergency Provisions Act, the authorities could arrest anyone without a warrant. Since coming to  power at the beginning of April, the League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi has tried to erase the law. Many MPs elected last November in the party were imprisoned in the past years thanks to the measure.

Tun Tun Hein, chairman of the committee that was responsible for the legislation, states: "This law has been used by the socialist dictatorship to arrest anyone who went against it. Now we have abolished it, because we have a government of the people. "

Since the came to NLD power, freedom of expression has increased in Myanmar and hundreds of political prisoners were released. Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Aung Sang Suu Kyi has called their release"a priority".

Despite this, some activists say that the state continues to take advantage of some repressive laws to silence critics of the government. Last September, for example, a man was sentenced to nine months in prison for having called President Htin Kyaw an "idiot" and "crazy" in a post online. In August, an actor received three-year sentence for writing insults referring to the army on his car.

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25/07/2022 11:20
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