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Journalists receive prison sentences for “incitement”; International development group divests from Yoma Bank

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Journalists receive prison sentences for “incitement”

Two Myanmar Pressphoto Agency (MPA) journalists, along with seven others anti-coup protesters, have been sentenced by the Insein Prison Court on Dec. 21 to three years in prison with hard labor. The MPA journalists Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun and Kaung Sett Lin were convicted of violating Section 505(a) of the Penal Code. “Among those who have been sentenced, some are being prosecuted on other charges under the Counter-Terrorism Act,” a lawyer close to the court told DVB. The nine were violently arrested for holding a flash-mob protest on Pann Pin Gyi Road in Yangon’s Kyimyindaing Township on Dec. 5, 2021.

International development group divests from Yoma Bank

Whistleblower group Justice for Myanmar (JFM) announced that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is divesting from Yoma Bank, one of Burma’s largest banks. The IFC is an international development group that invests in the private sector of developing countries. It sold its shares to First Myanmar Investment (FMI) for $5 million USD on Dec. 12. “IFC’s divestment from Yoma Bank is a positive step if it cannot prevent the bank from doing business with the Myanmar military, which is waging a war of terror against the people of Myanmar,” said Yadanar Maung, JFM spokesperson. 

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Dec. 21 calling to end violence and to release political prisoners in Burma. Read more here. 

Dozens of undocumented Burmese arrested in Thailand

Thirty-nine undocumented Burmese nationals were arrested in Thailand’s Ranong province on Dec. 20. Thai security forces detained 22 people from two separate cars in Kra Buri district. Three others, traveling with a child, were detained on a bus. Thirteen more were arrested at a Thai citizen’s house.

News by Region

KARENNI—Three civilians and eight members of the Karenni National People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) were killed on Hue Un and Hue Aw Highway in Ywar Thit Township on Dec. 17, according to the KNPLF. An investigation is underway. The KNPLF was transformed into a Border Guard Force (BGF) in 2009.

RAKHINE—Junta-appointed administrators have resigned en masse after being caught between the Arakan Army (AA) and the junta. “Admins are stuck between two administrative bodies. We have to follow what the AA orders. We may be arrested and sentenced,” an administrator who resigned told DVB. The United League of Arakan (ULA), began developing its own administrative bodies in 2020 and has expanded its administration following the 2021 coup. “It is quite difficult for the locals to travel because the admins resigned. Locals are not allowed to travel without the approval of the admins,” a local said.

YANGON—Resistance groups claim to have attacked a security gate in Tamwe Township on Dec. 22. “Normally, there were two or three soldiers in there, but this morning we did not know how many there were when we threw a bomb inside it. There might be casualties,” a spokesperson said. Resistance forces added that the attack was in retaliation for the mistreatment of political prisoners.

One was killed and another was injured at a tea shop in Sanchaung Township on Dec. 22. “The admin was killed and a 100-household-admin was injured. The Burma Army arrived and investigated the shop,” a local told DVB. According to Sanchaung residents, the administrator had been organizing for the junta’s planned 2023 elections. No group has claimed responsibility for the murder.

An explosion occurred near the Industrial Zone of South Dagon Township on Dec. 21. “We do not know the casualties as a curfew has been imposed in the township,”  a local told DVB. A resistance group named Mother Son Yangon Force said it conducted the attack.

DVB ATHAN—Atlanta Burmese Voice (ABV) Podcast launched earlier this year in Atlanta, Georgia. Salai Thung is the founder of ABV. He discusses the challenges of producing a podcast for the diaspora. DVB English On-Demand via YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, TuneIn Radio, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, Anchor, Audible, Amazon Music, Apple and Google Podcasts: https://link.chtbl.com/dvbenglish

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