TNLA Gives Shan Woman 3-Year Jail Term

By Zarni Mann 9 October 2018

MANDALAY — The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) says it has sentenced an ethnic Shan woman to three years in jail for informing on the armed group’s fighters to the Myanmar military.

TNLA spokesman Mai Aik Kyaw told The Irrawaddy that Nang Mo Hom was sentenced on Friday.

“It is correct that Nang Mo Hom was sentenced to three years in prison on Oct. 5 and she is in good health,” he said.

Nang Mo Hom, a mother of three, was abducted at gunpoint by TNLA fighters from her home in Namhkam Township, northern Shan State, on Aug. 17 for allegedly informing on two TNLA fighters extorting money from local businesses. One of the fighters was later shot dead by the military and the other was arrested.

The woman’s relatives deny that she was an informant. They have not been allowed to meet her since her arrest.

Earlier this month, the TNLA said Nang Mo Hom had violated the armed group’s laws by obstructing its members from carrying out their duties. They said her trial would be transparent. But her family says it has not been informed of any of the hearings.

“We have heard nothing from the group about the sentence or my wife. We also do not know how she is doing and we worry for her,” said her husband, Sai Saw Kyaw.

The family told The Irrawaddy that Nang Mo Hom’s sister and activists were meeting with the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee, an alliance of seven ethnic armed groups, hoping it can help win her release.

“We don’t know what to do yet. We are waiting for the results of the meeting and hope there will be good things for the release of my wife,” Sai Saw Kyaw said.

Activists urged the government to help as well.

“The TNLA previously said it would open up its court, but we were shock by the news that Nang Mo Hom received three years in prison. We condemn the sentence because we cannot accept that the TNLA judged her with its own laws,” said Nang Thin Thin Aye, a member of the Namhkam Youth Network.

“We would like to request President U Wint Myint, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the government and all responsible people for the release of Nang Mo Hom and to take care of this case because it can affect the trust between Shan and Ta’ang communities that have lived in the area peacefully for ages,” he said.

Mai Aik Kyaw, the TNLA spokesman, declined to elaborate on Nang Mo Hom’s condition or explain what evidence the armed group used to convict her and what measures it took to make the trial transparent.