Myanmar's military has further cracked down on National League for Democracy (NLD) members, sentencing former Pehkone township NLD MP Petel Aung and NLD members Lai Kyu and Maung Tat to life in prison at the Loi-Lin District Court in the country's southern Shan state last month.
Taung Lay Lone prison’s court also sentenced Phekone residents Maung Kown, Maung Nyein and Joseph to death, the Progressive Karenni People Force (PKPF) told RFA on Thursday.
Shan state shares a border with Kayah state where the Karenni Army fought for independence until a ceasefire in 2012 and a further ceasefire three years later that only lasted three months.
Fighting between the military and Karenni forces, helped by local People's Defense Forces, has spilled over into Shan state and the PKPF has been monitoring junta activity there, including the arrests of NLD politicians.
PKPF officials said the military council has not issued an official statement regarding the sentences.
“There were two groups arrested. Petel Aung was in one group and Maung Kown was in another. Petel Aung was arrested as a People’s Defense Force leader. Another group member was arrested last year on charges of killing an army officer and two soldiers in Phekone Township. The order was handed down last month, but we just found out,” said a PKPF official.
He added that MP Petel Aung, Lai Kyu and Maung Tat were arrested in Nam San, in Shan state on July 30, 2021. Maung Saung, Maung Nyein and Joseph were arrested in March last year.
The arrested have been charged by the military council with illegal association, murder and possessing illegal firearms.
“Maung Kown, Maung Nyein and Joseph were sentenced to death. They were convicted under Section 302 (1) (b) of the Penal Code for murder,” said a source close to the court who did not want to be named for safety reasons.
As of July 9, 117 people were facing trial and 140 had been sentenced to prison by the military council in Shan state and Kayah State, according to the PKPF.
There are 70 people facing trial at Taung Lay Lone prison, and 20 have been sentenced.
A total of 47 people are being held in Loikaw prison in Kayah state and 115 others are serving their sentences, the statement said. Five of the convicts have been transferred to Mandalay Obo Prison.
Calls to the military council spokesman by RFA went unanswered on Thursday. Opponents of the military junta who were arrested in prison across the country have been sentenced to long prison terms following the military coup on Feb. 1 last year.
According to military council data 114 people were sentenced to death by various military tribunals in Yangon between February 1, 2021 and May 19, 2022. A total of 78 people were sentenced to between seven years and life in prison.
Legal experts have pointed out that the coup council is threatening the public with death sentences and long prison sentences that are disproportionate to their crimes.
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