Yangon Court Jails Former Myanmar Army Officer for Criticizing Commanders

By Htet Khaung Lin 20 September 2019

Yangon – A court in Yangon’s Taikkyi Township on Friday sentenced a former Myanmar army captain, U Nay Myo Zin, to one year in prison for his critical public remarks about the military leadership in April.

He was convicted after a five-month trial of violating Article 505(a) of the Penal Code for persuading military personnel to mutiny or neglect their duties.

His wife, Daw Khin Myo Zaw, told The Irrawaddy: “The judge said we can appeal to the district court if we are not satisfied with the ruling. Ko Nay Myo Zin said he would not appeal. He said he made those remarks for the good of the entire Tatmadaw [military] and all soldiers.”

Myanmar lacks freedom of expression, said U Nay Myo Zin, who lamented his prosecution while a democratically elected government was in office.

“I want to be the last person to be arrested under [laws that restrict] freedom of expression. Fight to make sure no more are arrested,” he told the media.

“I want to tell all the civilians and soldiers that I want [the Tatmadaw] to protect the lives and property of all the citizens. I want the Tatmadaw to see the light and serve the interests of the country. I want the Tatmadaw to try to become a military that obeys the orders of the civilian government,” the former captain added.

Article 505(a) carries a sentence of up to two years of imprisonment.

Military officers have also opened cases under the same offense against U Nay Myo Zin at Wakema Township Court in Irrawaddy Region and Khin-U Township Court in Sagaing Region for his public remarks against the military in those towns.

The court in Wakema is due to deliver its final verdict on Sept. 26 and the court in Khin-U on Oct. 1.