Engineering student maimed by military gets three years with hard labour

March 29th, 2022  •  Author:   Ko Hlyan Phyo Aung (Magway)  •  3 minute read
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Hlyan Phyo Aung is seen taking part in an anti-coup protest and shortly after his arrest (Supplied)  

The sentence comes a year after the student was shot in the hand and blinded in one eye during a protest in Magway 

By Myanmar Now

An engineering student who was maimed by soldiers while taking part in an anti-coup protest in Magway last year was sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour on Monday.

Hlyan Phyo Aung, 23, had been charged with incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code.

The sentence, which was handed down by judge Swe Aye Nyein at a special court inside Magway Prison, was the maximum for the alleged offence.

It comes almost exactly a year after Hlyan Phyo Aung was arrested during a protest in his hometown of Magway on March 27, 2021.

Immediately after his arrest, he was hospitalized to have his hand, which had been shot at close range by soldiers cracking down on the protest, amputated.

Two months later, he was transferred to Magway Prison, despite requiring treatment for an eye injury caused by the gunshot.

According to a source close to his family, Hlya Phyo Aung later lost the sight in his right eye and is now having trouble seeing through his left eye.

“He went completely blind in his right eye and now sees lines in his left eye. He says it’s just like static on TV. At least the blind eye is in stable condition. This is actually worse,” said the source, who did not want to be named for security reasons.

Hlyan Phyo Aung was one of 37 people arrested during the crackdown on the protest in Magway. Although 30 were later freed despite facing similar charges, he was repeatedly denied bail and excluded from a mass release last July.

“The family couldn’t even attend his court hearings. They just drove them away. They only got to see him from afar,” said the family friend.

It was only when they were called to testify on his behalf, nine months after his detention, that Hlyan Phyo Aung’s family was able to see him again, he added.

The friend also said that he had heard Hlyan Phyo Aung was being forced to harvest watercress inside the prison, and was having trouble receiving medications sent by his family.

Myanmar Now was unable to confirm this information.

Hlyan Phyo Aung was one of seven people—five men and two women—who received similar sentences inside Magway Prison on Monday.

No details were available about the other prisoners, only four of whom—Nyein Pyae Sone, Phyo Maung, Ye Moe Aung, and Saw Min Htet—could be identified by name at the time of reporting.

The underground National Unity Government has publicised Hlyan Phyo Aung’s treatment as part of plans to submit evidence against the regime to the International Criminal Court.

Original Post: Myanmar Now