NLD Accused of Violating Electronics Act

Members of Burma’s main opposition party have been warned that they could be charged with violating the country’s infamous electronics act for publishing a statement about the trial of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi online, Burma’s state-run media reported on Saturday.

According to a report in The New Light of Myanmar, youth members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were told that posting a party statement about Suu Kyi’s trial on the Internet constituted a violation of Electronic Act 33 (A).

The law, which forbids unauthorized use of electronic media, was used against many pro-democracy dissidents in trials held at Insein Prison late last year, resulting in lengthy prison sentences for critics of the ruling regime’s crackdown on monks in 2007 and its response to Cyclone Nargis last May.

The report also suggested that the youth members may have broken other draconian censorship laws by posting the statement on the blog on June 3. “Without seeking permission for publication, the announcement has reached the public. Therefore the announcement is against the printing and publishing registration law,” the newspaper reported.

However, the NLD youth members denied that they intended to post the statement on the blog, which is run by a Burmese exile. They said that it was merely being circulated among members of the party.

In the statement, the NLD youth members said they were saddened by the junta’s failure to respond to international calls for the unconditional release of Suu Kyi, and expressed doubts about the legality of her trial. They pointed out that the trial is being carried out under provisions of the 1974 constitution, which was abolished when the current regime seized power in 1988.

“The act of saying that the 1974 constitution has been dissolved without showing any firm proof is a lawless act,” the report in The New Light of Myanmar claimed.

The report also said that NLD central executive committee members would be held responsible for the actions of the party’s youth members because they had authorized the online publication of the statement.

The authorities warned the CEC members yesterday that the statement “harmed peace and stability and prevalence of law and order in the country and disturbed the trial proceedings of a court.”

According to The New Light of Myanmar, the NLD leaders were instructed to sign a statement showing that they had been warned about the situation. However, NLD spokesperson Han Thar Myint said that the NLD leaders refused to sign anything.

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