5 Accused of Sparking Mandalay Riots Sentenced to 21 Years Jail

By Zarni Mann 19 March 2015

MANDALAY — A court in Naypyidaw’s Pyinmana Township sentenced five people to more than 20 years in prison on Wednesday after finding them guilty for instigating religious riots in Mandalay last July.

According to the state-run Myanma Alin newspaper, Phyu Phyu Min, Haji Htun Htun, Nu Nu Myat, Ye Htut and Mar Mar Ni have each been sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment with hard labour under Emergency Provisions Act, and were sent to Mandalay Central Prison at the end of the hearing.

The defendants were accused of fabricating rape claims and providing false information in an incident blamed for igniting the violence in Mandalay, which left two people dead and more than 20 others injured.

The riots began after word spread via social media that Muslim brothers Nay Win and San Win had raped Phyu Phyu Min, who went to Pyinmana police station and reported the case under the false name of Soe Soe.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that Nu Nu Myat and Ye Htut, a couple, had paid Phyu Phyu Min to open a rape case against the Nay Win and San Win at the behest of Tun Tun, a business rival of the brothers.

Last September, Ye Htut and Nu Nu Myat were arrested in the Thai border town of Mae Sot and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for breaching the Immigration Act, after fleeing the country in the aftermath of the three-day riot. The additional 21-year sentence will be added to the couple’s earlier conviction.

Defense counsel for the accused were unavailable for comment on Thursday.