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Myanmar Junta Adds 20 Years to Ex-Deputy House Speaker’s Sentence

A special junta court on Tuesday jailed U Tun Tun Hein, the former deputy speaker of the Lower House under the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government, for an additional 20 years after convicting him of high treason, taking his total sentence to 24 years, according to NLD politicians.

He is also a member of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee (CEC).

The special court in Lashio Prison, northern Shan State, sentenced U Tun Tun Hein to 20 years’ imprisonment under the Penal Code’s Section 122, which pertains to high treason, said the politicians.

U Nay Zin Latt, the elected MP for Kantbalu Township and a member of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, condemned the sentence.

“Whether high treason or state defamation, all such charges against politicians or others are meaningless. I don’t even have the proper words to describe the madness of the junta regime,” he remarked.

U Tun Tun Hein was detained on the same day as State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other members of the ruling party’s CEC on Feb. 1, 2021, the day of the coup. The junta released him on Feb. 7 and sent him back to his native town of Nawnghkio in northern Shan State.

But on Feb. 10 he was rearrested and since then he has been detained at Lashio Prison, hit with three charges. In December 2021 he was charged under the notorious sections 505 (a) and (b) of the Penal Code and sentenced to four years in prison. He was later charged under Section 130 (a), accused of breaching polling laws.

Section 130 (a) aims to penalize those who prohibit or fail to carry out the implementation of existing laws and carries a maximum sentence of three years plus a fine.

U Tun Tun Hein, 73, first won a seat in the Lower House in the 1990 general election, the results of which were ignored by the then military regime. He was imprisoned in 2012 and released in 2015. That year, he contested and won a seat representing Nawngkio Township constituency in the Lower House.

In 2018, he became third deputy speaker of the Lower  House and served until the end of that parliamentary term. In 2020 he was reelected to the Lower House representing a constituency in his home town.

As part of its crackdown on political opponents, Myanmar’s junta has handed out jail sentences to NLD CEC members and former Union Election Commission members.

“I’m especially concerned for elderly persons facing such political charges. Though they are mentally strong, they are getting too old to cope with the demands of prison, as well as the multiple methods of torture used during detention or interrogation,” said U Nay Zin Latt.