Burma

Ten Alleged Yangon Activists Jailed Over Bomb Attacks on Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 4 April 2022

Ten alleged Yangon activists, who were detained in April last year and charged with involvement in bombings, were sentenced to seven years in prison with labor, according to their lawyers.

A court in Insein Prison on March 31 handed down the maximum sentences for illegal weapons possession and their detention period will be deducted from the sentence. The 10 still face charges Article 436 of the Penal Code which could extend their terms by 20 years.

“The arson trial under Article 436 is ongoing. The maximum penalty under 436 is 20 years,” said a lawyer.

They were detained in night raids on April 17 last year following three blasts that killed at least one soldier and wounded several others at the General Administration Office in Yankin Township, where troops were based.

The following day, the regime’s Myawaddy TV announced suspects had been arrested in the township with bomb-making equipment after a tipoff. The accused showed signs of severe torture in the junta’s pictures.

The face of Ma Khin Nyein Thu, 31, was visibly swollen and she was reportedly sexually harassed during the interrogation.

A family member said Ma Khin Nyein Thus is now in good health.

Since the coup, many activists have been given lengthy jail terms or death sentences for alleged attacks and for having ties to the civilian National Unity Government or its armed people’s defense forces (PDFs). Recently several individuals were given 10-year sentences for allegedly donating cash to PDFs.

Those who are tried by court-martial are given harsher penalties and denied citizenship and human and legal rights, including the right to counsel, said lawyers.

U Khin Maung Myint, a lawyer, said: “There are two separate types of court, one for courts-martial in townships where direct military rule is imposed. Lawyers are not allowed to represent the accused in those courts. No one tried at those courts has been released and they are all given maximum sentences.”

No detainees tried at prison courts have been released, he added.

More than 10,007 people remain under detention since the February 2021 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Around 905 detainees have been given prison sentences, including 59 death sentences. Two children have received death sentences. At least 41 other suspects in hiding have been given death sentences in absentia.

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