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Judge shot dead in Yangon for role in imprisoning protesters

A judge was shot dead in Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township late last week by an urban guerrilla group that accused him of putting protesters behind bars.

The judge, San Lin, was gunned down at around 5:30pm on Friday, according to the Special Task Agency of Burma (STA), the group that claimed responsibility for the killing.

The resident of Yangon’s Mayangone Township was on his way home in a taxi when he was shot. He died instantly, the group said in a statement.

San Lin was targeted because he played a central role in handing out prison sentences to protesters charged with incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code, an STA spokesperson told Myanmar Now.

“Every court hearing regarding political cases was handled by him. He was the one who gave prison sentences to the protesters arrested under 505a. We needed to take him out due to the public’s reports on him,” the spokesperson said.

In March, a Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township judge sentenced the wife and mother of a man wanted for joining the Civil Disobedience Movement to three years in prison under Section 505a. The two women, as well as the couple’s three-year-old daughter, are currently being held in Insein Prison.  

STA shared a video of San Lin’s killing, along with its statement, on a Telegram channel on Friday. A taxi can be seen in the low-resolution video, and two gunshots can be clearly heard.

Myanmar’s military junta has not released any statement regarding the incident, and relatives of the victim were not available for comment. 

STA also reportedly carried out an explosive attack on a courthouse in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township the same day. No casualties were reported.

Court officials have been accused not only of passing unjust judgments on defendants arrested for opposing the regime, but also of exploiting their positions to extort money from their families.

“The courthouses have become really horrible places. They ask for insane amounts of bribe money from civilians facing political charges. Every single person working in the courts, from the low-level staff to the judges, is corrupt to the core,” said the STA spokesperson.

“The public has reported these matters to us, and that’s why we decided to send the courts a warning,” he added.

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