Naypyidaw teacher sentenced to 20 years by Myanmar junta court

Ye Soe Kyaw was accused of helping People’s Defense Forces fight the military regime.

UPDATED AT 04:20 EST ON 9-23-22

A 24-year-old private high school teacher from Naypyidaw has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Myanmar’s capital.

The sentence was handed down on Ye Soe Kyaw, 24, on Thursday, according to sources close to the court who did not wish to be named for safety reasons.

He was ordered to serve two 10-year sentences for two separate cases under Section 50 (J) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, a source close to the court told RFA on condition of anonymity.

"He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday. He is still young,” said the source. “He was sent straight to Yamethin prison on the day the sentence was issued.”

Ye Soe Kyaw is thought to have been detained on Jan. 5, while teaching at a school in Lewe township. He was accused of aiding People's Defense Forces (PDFs).

One Lewe resident, who did not wish to be named, said such a young teacher should not have received 20-years. He said Ye Soe Kyaw was given a harsh sentence so the junta could send a message that it is still in control of the country.

Deputy Minister of Information Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun told reporters at a press conference in Naypyidaw on Sept. 20 that supporting Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government is punishable with a maximum sentence of death under the anti-terrorism law.

He said the death penalty could also apply to ousted lawmakers of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (parliament), which is working to secure the release of MP’s along with Myanmar’s President and its State Counsellor He said the same would be true of anyone helping People’s Defense Forces.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) said on Thursday 15,598 people had been arrested since the coup, with 12,462 still detained.

The association said back in July that 24 teachers had been killed and more than 200 arrested since Feb. 1., 2021. It said the 24 who died had joined the Civil Disobedience Movement of striking professionals and were shot during protests or tortured to death.

This story has been updated to add more details on teacher arrests and deaths in the final paragraph.