Family Says Myanmar Junta Fabricating Weapons Case Against Shan State Pair

By The Irrawaddy 14 May 2021

Two young anti-regime protesters were arrested by junta forces in Shan State’s Muse on Tuesday. The junta forces said the two were arrested along with weapons, a claim family members said was fabricated.

Maung Hein Aung Hset, 20, and Maung Ye Thu Wai Lin, 17, were arrested as they were returning home from an anti-regime protest on Tuesday by junta forces wearing plain clothes.

State broadcaster MRTV, which is now controlled by the military regime, reported on Wednesday that interrogations of the duo led to the seizure of five M-22 guns, five magazines, 16 bombs and 315 rounds of 7.62-mm ammunition.

Military mouthpiece Myawaddy TV said homemade guns and bombs were seized from the pair, but relatives say the evidence was fabricated.

“He is a matriculation student. When he was arrested, there was only a motorbike with him. It is totally false that weapons were seized from him. He is wrongly accused,” said a family member of Maung Ye Thu Wai Lin.

Relatives said they were allowed to meet the two at the Muse Township police station. Their faces were swollen due to beatings, they said. Family members are concerned the two will face serious charges.

Daw Phyu Phyu Win, a lawyer acting for the pair, said she would ask that Maung Ye Thu Wai Lin be released on bail and tried at the juvenile court, as he is not yet 18.

“They have been remanded in custody only for incitement, and have not yet been charged with possession of arms. A man from the house where the weapons were reportedly seized has gone into hiding, and police have requested an arrest warrant for him. For the time being, the two are only charged with incitement. But they could still face more serious charges,” the lawyer said.

The court will hear their case on May 26.

Sai Naung, a friend of the two, said: “We have always taken part in protests together. It is totally wrong that they kept weapons. They have no links to the house where the weapons were seized, and the two have nothing to do with those weapons.”

The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain comments from the General Administration Department or Muse Township police about the arrests.

At least 50 young people have been arrested in Muse since Feb. 1 for participating in anti-regime protests.

More than 3,800 people have been detained nationwide since Feb. 1, and most of them face incitement charges. But in some cases, the military regime has filed high treason and sabotage charges.

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