Naypyidaw teacher sentenced to 20 years by Myanmar junta court

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

The verdict was handed down Thursday against Ye Soe Kyaw, 24, according to sources close to the court who declined to be named for security reasons.

He was sentenced to two 10-year prison terms 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.

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

Ye Soe Kyaw is said to have been detained on January 5 while teaching at a school in Lewe Municipality. He was accused of aiding People’s Defense Forces (PDFs).

A resident of Lewe, who declined to be named, said such a young teacher should not have been given 20 years. He said Ye Soe Kyaw has been given a severe sentence so that the junta can send a message that he is still in control of the country.

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Deputy Information Minister Major General Zaw Min Tun told reporters at a news conference in Naypyidaw on Sept. 20 that supporting the shadow government of Myanmar’s National Unity is punishable by the maximum death penalty under the anti-terrorism law.

He said the death penalty could also apply to expelled lawmakers from the Committee representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Parliament), which is working with Myanmar’s president and his state adviser to release MPs. He said the same would apply to anyone who helps the People’s Defense Forces.

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The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) said on Thursday that 15,598 people have been arrested, of whom 12,462 remain in prison since the coup.

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