Myanmar Junta Hands Lawyer Defending Ex-NLD Chiefs 15 Years in Jail

By The Irrawaddy 29 December 2022

A junta court inside Mandalay’s Obo Prison on Wednesday sentenced prominent lawyer Daw Ywet Nu Aung to 15 years in prison for allegedly funding the People’s Defense Force (PDF) fighting the regime.

Daw Ywet Nu Aung was a member of the legal defense team for former Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung of the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

She was arrested on April 27 after his closed-doors trial inside Mandalay’s Obo Prison and charged under Section 50 (j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law with donating 300,000 kyats (around US$110) to the PDF, which the military regime labels a terrorist organization.

The lawyer is a regional-level NLD member and a legal adviser to the party. As well as acting for Dr. Zaw Myint Maung at his trial, she was also representing other ousted ministers of the former Mandalay government who have been charged by the regime.

She was interrogated at the regime military base in Mandalay Palace before being brought to trial. Her office was also searched.

In 2019, she acted for the victim’s family in a high-profile rape case involving a toddler at a nursery in Naypyitaw.

“It now appears that lawyers serving in political cases can be accused and detained anytime. We continue to perform our professional duties, but not because we are completely emotionally secure. In fact, we are in a state of panic. We even have to be very careful with our choice of words,” said one lawyer, who spoke anonymously over safety concerns.

Like Daw Ywet Nu Aung, other lawyers representing political detainees have been jailed or are in hiding after arrest and prosecution by the regime.

Section 50 (j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law covers funding of terrorism and carries a prison term of 10 years to life plus a fine.