Family of NLD member imprisoned for USDA intimidation

Oct 10, 2007 (DVB), Family members and colleagues of a National League for Democracy member who was attacked in June have been given five to seven-year sentences for threatening the Union Solidarity and Development Association, according to their lawyer.

U Than Lwin, a National League for Democracy member and elected member of parliament from Mandalay’s Maddaya township, suffered serious facial injuries when he was attacked by a man wearing a knuckle-duster in mid-June.

Four family members of U Than Lwin , Daw Khin Ma Gyi, Daw Khin Ma Lay, U Zaw Min Lwin and U Nyein Sein , and Maddaya NLD party members U Nyo Lay, Ko Kyaw Swar, Ko Thaung Naing and Ko Nyi Nyi were each given five-year prison sentences while another NLD party member, U Nyo Gyi, received a seven-year jail term.

U Myint Thwin, the group's defence lawyer, said that they were charged with intimidation under section 506 of the penal code.

The USDA brought the charges against them, claiming they had threatened to burn down the USDA office and kill U Than Lwin's attacker, who the lawyer says has now been identified as U Kyaw Min, secretary of the township USDA.

"There were eight witnesses for the prosecution in court. They testified against U Nyo Gyi, saying that he had really threatened the USDA officials in the way they described. But they testified that the other eight weren’t involved in the intimidation, and in fact were just standing there and watching the scene as it happened," said the lawyer.

Despite this testimony, the court still found that the other eight had assisted U Nyo Gyi in the intimidation and sentenced them to five years each. All nine were sent to Mandalay prison after sentencing.

Reporting by Aye Aye Mon

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