Meiktila NLD lawmaker handed three-year prison sentence without trial

A detained Mandalay regional parliamentarian with the National League for Democracy (NLD) has been sentenced to three years in prison by the military council without a trial, his family members said. 

Lwin Maung Maung, who would have represented Meiktila Constituency 1 if not for the February 1 military coup, was arrested on the night of April 28 after briefly returning to his home following a period in hiding. The 38-year-old lived in Meiktila’s industrial zone, 10 miles from the town. 

His family was barred from visiting him in Meiktila Prison, and were only permitted to deliver supplies to him on May 12. On that day, they learned of his prison sentence, but said that the charges against him are still unknown. 

Yay, Lwin Maung Maung’s mother and a former school teacher, told Myanmar Now that 12 military vehicles and police cars were used in her son’s arrest.

“They arrested him because they wanted to—they sentenced him to prison time because they can, even though there is no legal basis for it,” she said. “They arrested him because he is an NLD member. Actually he had enough time to evade arrest, but he didn’t. I think he worried that if he tried to escape, the junta would arrest me as his mother.”

Lwin Maung Maung was known for assisting Mandalay Region farmers in issues related to the confiscation of their land by the military, Yay explained. She said that she discouraged him from running in Myanmar’s 2020 election, but he told her that he wanted to advance land rights in parliament. 

The MP is the younger brother of Nyi Nyi Lwin, also known by his monastic name U Gambira, a leader of the 2007 Saffron Revolution. U Gambira was arrested in 2007, interrogated and tortured for his involvement in the anti-military protests. He was handed a prison sentence of 68 years, but released in a general amnesty in 2012. 

“There is no one in our house who has not been imprisoned for politics,” Yay said. “Our family members were imprisoned in 1988, 2007 and 2021. It’s like they have a license to be imprisoned.” 

Myanmar Now tried to contact the military council’s information department for comment on Lwin Maung Maung’s sentencing, but received no response. 

Meiktila District is home to a large number of military bases, and the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won the area’s seats in the 2015 general election. However, in 2020, the NLD won the majority of votes in the area.

In addition to Lwin Maung Maung in the regional parliament, Lower House NLD candidate Dr Sint Soe won a seat, as did Upper House NLD candidate Phone Kyaw. Maung Maung Gyi, also from the NLD, won the second regional parliamentary seat. 

After the military coup, which was staged on the pretext of voter fraud, NLD lawmakers and prominent party supporters in Meiktila Township were forced to flee the junta’s arrests.

The military council has repeatedly prosecuted dissidents, including NLD members, under Section 505a of the Penal Code for incitement, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.


Related Articles

Back to top button