Burma

Two Aged NLD Prisoners Freed by Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 28 January 2022

Myanmar’s junta released two ailing National League for Democracy (NLD) figures from prison on Thursday.

U Han Tha Myint, an NLD central executive committee (CEC) member, was sentenced to two years in prison on Dec. 30 for incitement over the party’s statement condemning last February’s military coup.

According to sources, he was released due to poor health. The 74-year-old, who had surgery for prostate cancer and suffers from hypertension, was being held in Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison after being arrested during the February 1 coup. He contracted coronavirus while in custody and was treated in hospital.

Former planning and finance minister U Soe Win was also seized during the coup and charged under the Official Secrets Act. He has been granted bail, a court source told The Irrawaddy.

The 83-year-old CEC member was the oldest NLD cabinet member and has been at the 1,000-bed hospital in Naypyitaw since December due to colon cancer.

He worked in the financial and banking sectors for half a century.

U Soe Win, his predecessor U Kyaw Win and deputy planning and finance minister U Sett Aung were charged alongside Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for violating the Official Secrets Act for hiring Australian academic Sean Turnell as an economic adviser to the NLD government. Turnell has also been detained since the coup and charged under the Official Secrets Act. If convicted, they face up to 14 years in prison.

The regime has set up a special court in Naypyitaw to hear their cases. A hearing was canceled on Thursday after prosecution witnesses failed to attend.

Turnell is also being charged under the Immigration Law.

Many aged and sickly NLD figures remain in prison.

NLD CEC member U Nyan Win, 79, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s long-time personal lawyer, died of COVID-19 in July. He contracted the virus in Insein and died a few days later at Yangon Hospital.


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