Myanmar Junta Jails Man for 10 Years for Alleged Ties to People’s Defense Force

By The Irrawaddy 27 May 2022

A junta court in Rakhine State’s Thandwe has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison with labor over his alleged ties to the People’s Defense Force (PDF), which Myanmar’s military regime has branded as a terrorist group.

Ko Tin Tun Naing, 26, from Thalu Kyun Village was detained by junta soldiers while traveling to Gwa Township on Jan. 29. He was later charged under Section 49 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.

A family member said: “They said they found Ko Tin Tun Naing’s messages to the PDF on [Facebook] Messenger in his phone. He was unfairly jailed.”

On May 20, two Thandwe men were given three years in prison with labor for their alleged ties to the PDF.

Since February, the regime has jailed five residents including a high school teacher and a famous Rakhine writer for allegedly financing PDFs.

Young author Ko Min Di Par from Pan Maw Village in Mrauk-U Township was arrested in October last year on suspicion of financing PDFs and charged under Myanmar’s Counter-Terrorism Law. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with labor in February.

Three women aged 28, 35 and 40 from Thandwe were given 10 years on March 31 for donating cash to PDF groups.

The regime has detained and charged 12 residents from Thandwe, Taungup, Mrauk-U and Gwa townships under the Counter-Terrorism Law on suspicion of having ties to the PDFs.

In August last year, coup leader Min Aung Hlaing signed an amendment to the Counterterrorism Law introducing harsher penalties for supporting anti-regime activities.

Under the amendment, the jail term is increased from three to seven years for “acts of exhortation, persuasion, propaganda and recruitment of any person to participate in any terrorist group or activities of terrorism”.