Myanmar Junta Jails Democracy Activist Ko James for Another Five Years

By The Irrawaddy 14 February 2023

A Myanmar junta court sentenced jailed former student leader and democracy activist Ko Lin Htet Naing, aka Ko James, to an additional five years in prison on a terrorism charge on Monday.

According to his wife Ma Phyoe Phyoe Aung, who is herself a prominent activist and former political prisoner, Botahtaung District Court handed down the latest sentence under Article 52 (b) of the Counterterrorism Law.

Ko James was earlier sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under incitement charges. With Monday’s sentence, he now faces a total of eight years’ imprisonment.

“It is an unjust and false charge and sentence using repressive laws; it is a terrorism charge against an activist for defending democracy,” Ma Phyoe Phyoe Aung wrote on her Facebook account.

Junta forces arrested Ko James on June 18 in Yangon and he has been detained in Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison since then. His mother was killed on Oct. 19 in a blast at the prison’s parcel drop-off office while delivering food for her detained son. The junta denied his request to attend her funeral.

According to rights group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more than 19,000 people including elected leaders, lawmakers, activists, protesters and striking civil servants have been arrested since the coup, mainly for anti-junta activism. Of those arrested, 15,177 remain behind bars.