Junta court sentences 4 people to life for ‘funding terrorism’

By RFA Burmese

A military court in Myanmar’s northern Sagaing region has sentenced four people to life imprisonment under the junta’s anti-terrorism laws, locals told RFA.

They were all arrested by troops in their homes in Indaw township on March 5 this year.

Residents identified them as Thein Hla, a civil disobedience movement teacher in her 40s; two other women, Khin Pyae Pyae Tun and Aye Aye; and a 24-year-old man, Aye Min Tun.

“The 24-year-old man was sentenced on April 1,” an Indaw resident told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Three other women were also sentenced [on April 3]. All received life time imprisonment under Sections 50 (j) and 52(a)”, a local man told RFA.

Section 50 (j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law relates to funding terrorism, while 52 (a) covers the organization of or participation in terrorist acts along with harboring terrorists or hosting meetings.

The four were among 22 people arrested and accused of donating money to the Indaw People’s Defense Force. The other 18 were released on bail.

“A PDF member was arrested first. Then [more] people were arrested and accused of having their names on the donor list [to the PDF]. But there is no evidence,” said a woman who also declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

“The arrest of the teacher Thein Hla also has no evidence. She was accused of providing 100,000 to 200,000 [kyat or U.S.$48-96] in that list and was arrested. She has committed no serious crime. It's only because she participated in the anti-regime civil disobedience movement. The other three are ordinary people.”

Locals say another man from Indaw was sentenced to life imprisonment under the same terrorism financing law on Feb. 27 this year.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) more than 21,200 civilians have been arrested nationwide during the more than two years since the junta seized power in a coup, of which over 17,300 are still behind bars.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.