31 regime opponents get lengthy prison sentences in Dawei

January 6th, 2022  •  Author:   Anti-coup protesters (Dawei)  •  3 minute read
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Protesters take part in an anti-coup rally in Dawei in June 2021 (Supplied)  

The defendants were facing a range of charges, from incitement to violations of weapons and anti-terror laws 

By Myanmar Now

Thirty-one opponents of Myanmar’s military junta received lengthy prison sentences in Dawei in the final week of last year, a prison source in the Tanintharyi Region capital has disclosed.

A list provided by the source shows that a special court inside Dawei Prison handed down the sentences, ranging from two years to 19 years, between December 28 and 30.

According to the list, 14 of the convicted defendants were student activists who had been charged with incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code.

This group included Soe Pyae Aung, 22, a spokesperson for the Dawei University Student Union, who was arrested in late September, and two female students, Soe Mi Mi Kyaw, 22, and Shar Pyae Khin, 24, who were taken into custody at the same time.

Four of the 14 students—all of whom were given two-year sentences for their political activities—were women, the list showed.

The remaining defendants were given sentences of at least seven years in prison, based on offenses that included incitement and violations of Section 19f of the Weapons and Explosives Law, Section 51 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, and Section 52 of the Logistics Law.

The longest sentence was given to 38-year-old Tun Tun Oo, who was given an 18-year prison term after being found guilty on all four charges.

Nyan Win, 24, was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison on all but the terrorism charge, while the others each received seven or eight years.

All 17 are also facing additional charges of homicide under Section 307 of the Penal Code, the source said, adding that this charge has been laid against a total of 77 Dawei Prison inmates.

According to the source, none of the defendants were represented by lawyers.

A lawyer living in Dawei and two local activists confirmed that prisoners detained for anti-regime activities were having difficulty getting legal representation.

“No lawyer in Dawei dares to take these cases. Some offered their services free of charge at first, but then they started to be targeted with arrest warrants,” said one activist.

A Yangon-based lawyer who frequently travels to Dawei said that colleagues in the city were coming under heavy pressure from the regime.

“A very close lawyer friend of mine said that they had been warned not to take political cases, and also not to speak of the threats against them,” he said.

Local media outlets reported recently that warrants were issued against several lawyers in Dawei and Launglon townships in November. Four of these lawyers have since been arrested, according to the reports.

Myanmar Now was unable to reach the families of the defendants or local authorities for confirmation of the sentences.

Original Post: Myanmar Now