Activist teacher sentenced to seven years in a Myanmar prison

The Civil Disobedience Movement member and former student leader was jailed under anti-terrorism laws.

A member of Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), Thae Su Naing, has been sentenced to seven years in prison by Meiktila Court in Mandalay region. She received the maximum sentence allowed under the country’s anti-terrorism law.

The 24-year-old teacher was a former chairwoman of the Meiktila University Students’ Union and taught in the local township.

Thae Su Naing was sentenced under Section 52 (A) of the Counter-Terrorism Law on Monday, family members and colleagues told RFA. Sentences under the law range from three to seven years.

One family member, who declined to be named for security reasons, told RFA it was unfair to sentence a young teacher to such a long prison term,

“There is no justice. My sister is an ordinary school teacher, not a People’s Defense Force (PDF) leader,” the family member said. “This sentence is severe for my sister. She has to appeal but arrangements have not yet been made. I want my sister to come back home as soon as possible.”

Thae Su Naing was arrested by the army at her home in Meiktila township on November 22 last year. She was accused of being a PDF leader and held for nine months before being sentenced.

Her family told RFA that her leg had been broken during a beating she received from the junta soldiers who arrested her. They said her leg has not healed properly because she did not receive effective medical treatment in Meiktila Prison.

Thae Su Naing was active in fighting for students’ rights during her university days. As a teacher, she participated in the anti-dictatorship CDM movement following the Feb.1, 2021 military coup.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), 12,171 people have been arrested since the military coup of February 1, 2021 up until Monday. Some 1,410 of them have been sentenced to prison terms across Myanmar.

Last month the AAPP said 12 teachers had been killed and more than 200 arrested since Myanmar’s military seized control from the elected government.