Burma

New Conviction Pushes Sentence to 80 Years for Jailed Chief Minister of Myanmar’s Karen State

By The Irrawaddy 23 December 2021

Myanmar’s military regime has sentenced ousted Karen State Chief Minister Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint to an additional three years in prison. The deposed minister, 67, has now been sentenced to a total of 80 years.

On Wednesday, the prison court in Hpa-an, the capital of Karen State, handed down the sentence under Article 130(a) of the Penal Code, which relates to violations of certain provisions in the 2008 military-drafted Constitution and Acts of Parliament, according to a source close to the court.

Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint, who is also on the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy, was already serving 77 years for incitement and five alleged corruption charges.

Following the military’s coup on Feb. 1 she was briefly detained and released. She was rearrested a week later, however, after posting a video online in which she called on soldiers to defend the people and unite with the general public.

The  charge under Article 130(a) was added in December. The deposed chief minister has been denied her right to legal representation, the source said.

Her family is unable to see her, and their prison visits are limited to delivering things to the prison.

“They have not had a chance to seek her consent to appoint a lawyer to represent her, as they haven’t been able to meet,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Also, we don’t know about her health condition; we heard she is not well,” the source added.

The military seized power from the country’s democratically elected civilian government on Feb. 1, alleging fraud in the 2020 general election, which was deemed free and fair by observers at home and abroad.

As part of its efforts to justify its action, the junta in July revoked the 2020 election result, claiming the poll was “not free and fair” and “not in compliance with” the constitution and the law.

“The junta always seeks to portray the 2020 election as marred by fraud. So they bring such charges against former cabinet members including [state and regional] chief ministers and ministers,” said an advocate who also spoke on condition of anonymity.


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