Dr. Pyae Phyo, left, and U Wai Lin Aung
Myanmar’s junta sentenced two former MPs of the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) to 26 years in prison on Monday.
U Wai Lin Aung, who represented Myaungmya Township, and Dr. Pyae Phyo who represented Einme and Wakema, both in Ayeyarwady Region, were jailed by a district court in Myawaddy, Karen State, on Terrorism and Treason (Section 112) charges almost a year after being arrested.
They were arrested in Lay Kay Kaw Township on the Thai -Myanmar border on December 14 ,2021 and detained in an interrogation center. Three months of violence and torture during interrogation took a toll on their health, but both have since reportedly recovered.
The two were detained at Myawaddy police station before being sentenced on Monday and will likely be sent to Hpa-an prison in Karen State.
Their jailing comes less than two weeks after the regime released political prisoners in a Nov. 17 pardon seemingly aimed at easing international pressure over mass imprisonment of opponents.
A regime court last month sentenced the NLD’s former representative in Taungdwingyi, Magwe Region, to 148 years in prison on terrorism charges.
U Win Myint Hlaing, 52, was already serving a 25-year sentence in Magway’s Daung Nay prison on “terrorism” charges. The junta brands all groups who oppose its military rule as “terrorists”. U Win Myint Hlaing now faces a combined sentence of 173 years in prison.
Arresting and imprisoning representatives elected by the people violates the principle of democracy, said Daw Thandar, a former NLD MP for Einme Township.
“It is proof that the military’s power seizure after claiming electoral fraud was completely wrong. It violated the political will of the people who voted in the election,” Daw Thandar told The Irrawaddy.
She urged the international community to take action against the military regime.
The junta has arrested another 1,169 NLD members, including 90 former MPs, since the coup in February 2021. Sixty-seven members, including two ex-MPs, were killed in detention, according to the NLD.
More than 16,000 people have been arrested since the coup, and nearly 13,000 remain in detention, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group that monitors arrests.