Former Burmese Army captain Nay Myo Zin, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Friday under the Electronics Act in a special trial in a closed courtroom hearing in Insein Prison, Rangoon. He was initially detained in April of this year.
Nay Myo Zin’s lawyer Hla Myo Myint said his sentencing showed that the rule of law is yet to exist in the country;
“Nay Myo Zin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison under the Electronics Act – this shows there is not yet a rule of law in the country,” Hla Myo Myint told DVB.
The former army captain had been volunteering for a blood donation group organised by National League for Democracy (NLD) members. He was arrested by police in early April with no warrant.
Follow his arrest, his family expressed fear that he was being tortured in his interrogation.
He was later charged under the Electronics Act for allegedly making contacts with Voice of America (VOA) news agency’s reporter Rodney Nyein (also known as) Thaung Nyein [who conducted radio talk shows with former army officials] and also taking part in an exile-political group known as Patriotic War Veterans of Burma and writing articles under pseudonyms Shwe Bann and Nyi Toe Nyein [on political blogs.]
“He was charged with the Electronics Act mainly for the reason that he, despite being an army official, wrote articles to discredit the army. We believed that this is a politically motivated charge and he was accused of writing something he actually didn’t. It is inappropriate to give him such a harsh punishment – he is also in poor health,” said Hla Myo Myint.
Nay Myo Zin’s younger brother Khin Maung Htwe said his brother’s sentencing is a discouragement to those who want to work in charities;
“We are now under a [civilian government] which claimed themselves to be clean. Now this just showed if they are really clean or not,” said Khin Maung Htwe.
Nay Myo Zin’s family and friends raised his case with UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana during his visit to Burma last week. Nay Myo Zin’s sentencing occurred after Quintana had left however.