AHRC TV: Activist assaulted in Sri Lanka and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 227

This week Just Asia begins with Sri Lanka, where well-known rights activist Amitha Priyanthi was attacked by two motorcyclists on July 6. Dressed in black, with helmets covering their faces, the assailants hit Ms. Amitha on her head and other parts of the body, and took her handbag and mobile phone. There is reason to believe that the assault on Amitha may be due to the high court trial in the case of her brother’s death.

Next, a court in Burma has charged two jailed Reuters journalists with obtaining secret state documents, moving the landmark press freedom case into its trial stage. After six months of preliminary hearings, Yangon district judge Ye Lwin on Monday charged reporters Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, for breaching the country’s colonial era Official Secrets Act. The journalists pleaded not guilty, but could end up facing up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

In Nepal, senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Govinda KC has been on an indefinite hunger strike since June 30. Dr. KC is seeking reforms in the country’s medical education sector. In particular, he is demanding the enactment of a National Medical Education Act, and other reforms based on the agreements reached between him and the Nepal government earlier.

Hong Kong lawyers and activists held a silent protest on Monday outside Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, marking the third anniversary of the Chinese government’s large-scale crackdown on human rights lawyers. The “709 crackdown” began on July 9, 2015 when around 300 human rights lawyers, legal staff, and activists were arrested across 25 provinces and detained for months. At the silent protest, participants stood in the rain holding portraits of activists including Wang Quanzhang, Yu Wensheng and Hu Shigen.

Moving to India, the country’s Supreme Court has dismissed the review petition of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case. The three convicted in the December 2012 brutality were awarded the death penalty in September 2013. The convicts now have the options of filing a curative petition, and also seeking presidential pardon by filing a mercy petition.

Lastly, in Indonesia, arbitrary arrest and detention continues in the province of Papua, despite massive protests and campaigning by national and international human rights organizations. Most recently, on June 9 and 10, Timika Police officers arrested and detained five indigenous Papuans without any arrest warrants. Two of them have been released, while three are still in detention, having been charged with the possession of illegal weapons.

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