Myanmar’s Junta Sentences Four More to Prison for ‘Incitement’

By The Irrawaddy 13 May 2021

Myanmar’s military regime handed down prison sentences against a headmistress, a reporter, a student leader and a National League for Democracy (NLD) township member on incitement charges Wednesday.

Headmistress of Hpa-an Government’s Technical High School in Karen State Dr. Cho Yu Mon was sentenced to two years imprisonment on a charge of violating Article 505 (b) of the Penal Code, which criminalizes inducing someone to commit an offense against the state or against “the public tranquility.” Her sentence was handed down by a court in Hpa-an Prison.

Police arrested the headmistress in her home in Hpa-an on Feb. 5 for taking part in a red ribbon campaign to show defiance against the coup.

The headmistress told police that she was joining the civil disobedience movement (CDM) and it was within her rights as a citizen to express her views peacefully. At the time, police assured her that she wouldn’t be placed under arrest for her protest but insisted that she accompany them to a meeting so they could ask few questions.

She was then put under detention for more than 90 days and as of Wednesday faces two years in prison for her peaceful protest.

On the same day, a court inside Pyay Prison in Bago Region handed down a maximum sentence, three years, to Ko Min Nyo, a reporter from Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB).  He was charged under Article 505 (a) of Penal Code, which criminalizes circulating comments that “cause fear or spread false news.” He became the first reporter to be sentenced among the journalists detained since the coup.

Ko Min Nyo was violently beaten and arrested on March 3 while covering an anti-regime protest in Pyay.

The judge, law officer and defense lawyers are the only outsiders allowed to attend trials inside prisons. No relatives are allowed to attend.

Student leader Ko Thant Zin Tun (left) and NLD township member U Kyaw Kyaw Nyan Win in Pyay of Bago Region (right).

Ko Thant Zin Tun, a student leader in Pyay, who has been behind bars for more than 80 days, was sentenced to six years imprisonment under two charges of Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly breaking the COVID-19 rules and Article 505 (a) of Penal Code on Wednesday.

The student leader was arrested Feb. 18 for protesting against the military coup.

U Kyaw Kyaw Nyan Win, information team member of NLD’s Pyay branch office was also sentenced to three years imprisonment on Wednesday under Penal Code’s Article 505 (a). He was also arrested in mid-February.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) which tracks detentions and killings since the coup, about 5,000 people were arrested following the military takeover on Feb. 1 and of those, 3,885 remain under detention. About 90 have been sentenced.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 1,600 more, including doctors, nurses, teachers, student unions’ members and journalists.

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