Fugitive Former Myanmar Army Officer on Sedition Charge Turns Himself in

By Htun Htun 28 December 2020

Yangon — U Hla Swe, a former lieutenant colonel in Myanmar’s military, who has been evading arrest for more than a year on sedition charges, turned himself in on Monday.

The notorious nationalist surrendered to Yangon western district police, according to the Dagon Township General Administration Department.

“The district police chief took him to the western district court,” said U Kyaw Kyaw, a staff officer at the department.

U Hla Swe represented the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party in the Upper House under the U Thein Sein administration from 2011 to 2015.

He was charged with sedition under Article 124 of the colonial-era Penal Code for allegedly condemning Myanmar’s leaders while speaking at a rally against US sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders in front of Yangon City Hall in August last year.

He also faces a lawsuit at Kyauktada Township court under Article 295 for hate speech against Islam. Muslim spiritual leader U San Aung, who filed the complaint, said: “The court has already heard us. We will make sure justice is served.”

Article 124 carries 20 years in prison and Article 295 can lead to two years behind bars.

The fugitive nationalist monk U Wirathu, who was on the run for more than a year, turned himself in to police in Yangon in early November. He is now in Insein Prison.

On Dec. 15, Insein Township court in Yangon sentenced three nationalists for incitement over a show of support for the convicted assassin of a National League for Democracy legal adviser U Ko Ni to one year in prison with hard labor. The three were on the run for more than two years before they turned themselves in to police.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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