Myanmar’s regime has handed long prison sentences to seven women for allegedly donating cash to displaced people and people’s defense forces (PDF).
The women, who allegedly donated money via the mobile wallet platform KBZ Pay to PDFs which are fighting the regime and civilians displaced by the fighting, were charged with funding terrorism under the Counter-Terrorism Law.
Daw Hsan Hsan Su, 30, a striking teacher from Kanbalu Township in Sagaing Region was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 31.
On the same day, three women, aged 28, 35 and 40, from Thandwe in Rakhine State were given 10-year sentences.
On March 29, Ma Hsaung Hnin Phyu, 19, from Yebyu Township in Tanintharyi Region was also given 10 years with labor for allegedly donating 13,500 kyats (US$7) to a resistance group.
Two university students, who are around 20, from Dawei in Tanintharyi Region were given seven years in prison with labor for donating 5,000 kyats ($3) each to displaced people, according to the Dawei Political Prisoners’ Network.
A group spokesman said: “The regime has responded by giving long prison sentences no matter how small the donation. Anti-regime protesters were not given such long sentences. The regime is trying to intimidate people who are financially supporting its opponents.”
In the aftermath of last year’s coup, the regime mostly used incitement charges under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code, which carries up to two years in prison, on its opponents. But since June 30 last year, the regime has mostly used Article 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law, said lawyer U Khin Maung Myint.
The regime declared the parallel civilian National Unity Government (NUG), its parliamentary body CRPH and PDF armed wings to be terrorist organizations.
“The regime has lately used provisions that carry up to 10 years in prison to life sentences. It has been increasingly applying the Counter-Terrorism Law. It has prosecuted people on suspicion that they have contacted or funded the PDFs, CRPH, NUG and the ethnic armed organizations fighting the regime,” said U Khin Maung Myint.
The arrests were reportedly made with tipoffs from junta informants. People are charged with funding PDFs if they cannot satisfactorily explain their mobile transfers. The alleged donors’ homes, offices, cars and motorbikes were also confiscated by the regime.
Nearly 200 people have been prosecuted for allegedly funding the outlawed organizations, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
You may also like these stories: