Myanmar Regime Hands Mentally Ill Man Death Sentence

By The Irrawaddy 14 April 2021

A person who suffers from mental illness was sentenced to death along with 18 other people by Myanmar’s military regime on April 8 after being accused of banditry and murder in North Okkalapa Township, Yangon, in late March.

On March 27, an army officer and his civilian friend were attacked by 19 people in Nya ward in the township, according to the regime.

During the attack, an army officer was injured and his friend allegedly stabbed to death and a pistol and radiophone were taken from the officer.

Ko Aung Aung Htet, who suffers from mental illness, and the 18 other suspects were charged under Articles 396 and 397 of the Penal Code.

The court-martial sentenced them all to death for committing dacoity – an Indian term for banditry – with murder.

Only Ko Aung Aung Htet and another suspect, Ko Bo Bo Nge, are in detention while the other 17 are in hiding.

Ko Aung Aung Htet’s mother claims he only witnessed the attack from a distance.

Due to a mental illness caused by alcohol abuse, Ko Aung Aung Htet has been treated at a mental health hospital and was on medication, his mother told The Irrawaddy.

“I feel pain over the sentence. Please release my son as he is innocent,” she said.

Five men and a woman were also sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with labor by a court-marital over an arson attack on the North Okkalapa court office on March 15 and 16.

By Tuesday more than 3,000 people, including elected leaders, election commissioners, anti-regime protesters, activists, teachers, doctors, journalists, writers and artists, had been detained by the junta since the Feb. 1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

More than 710 civilians have also been killed by the regime’s forces.

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