Striking Myanmar Medics Face up to Six Years in Jail
By The Irrawaddy 13 June 2021
Myanmar’s military regime has charged the national immunization director and others 26 doctors with the Unlawful Association Act and incitement under the Penal Code for allegedly assisting the National Unity Government (NUG).
Dr. Htar Htar Lin, the national immunization director, was arrested on Thursday in Yangon. Her husband, seven-year-old son, friend and her daughter were also detained with her. Their whereabouts are unknown.
Two other doctors, Dr. Maung Maung Nyein Tun and Dr. Swe Zin Oo, are among 26 suspects charged with her who were arrested on Sunday in Mandalay, a source told The Irrawaddy.
On Saturday night, the junta-controlled media announced that Dr. Htar Htar Lin formed the civil disobedience movement’s (CDM) core group and assisted the NUG, which it has designated as a terrorist group.
The state-controlled media said she confessed to communicating with Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, the NUG’s shadow health minister, through the applications Signal and Zoom. She helped write speeches and NUG health-care policy documents and helped prepare for Zoom meetings and plan to implement the NUG health-care programs, including estimating required drugs and costs, the state media stated.
It said she will be prosecuted under Article 17 of the Unlawful Association Act and Article 505(a) of the Penal Code for communicating with a “terrorist organization” and working with Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, who is in hiding and acting health minister in the NUG. He also has two other ministerial portfolios.
It made the same accusation against 26 other doctors who it said had accepted NUG public health, state health administration and clinician team roles.
The state media broadcast their names and photos and called on the public to give evidence against them. It said anyone who hides the suspects would face prosecution.
Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act penalizes anyone who has joined an unlawful association or is taking part in its activities with up to three years in prison. Incitement under the Penal Code also carries three-year terms.
Several medics and Ministry of Health and Sports staff have been charged for participating in the CDM and for running secret clinics for wounded demonstrators.
At least 51 striking medics, including superintendents, academics, surgeons and other hospital staff, have been arrested with many still in detention and facing prosecution.
The regime also issued warrants for prominent CDM doctors, including Dr. Zaw Wai Soe and Dr. Htar Htar Lin. Thousands of medical staff are in hiding.
The CDM was launched by medics on Feb. 3 in protest against the junta and followed by other government workers nationwide.
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