The ousted chair of Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) and two other senior election officials have each been sentenced to three years in prison.
UEC chair Hla Thein, secretary Myint Naing, and commission member Than Htay were sentenced under Section 130a of the Penal Code last Thursday, according to court sources.
The charge is related to alleged violations of electoral laws during the 2020 general election, which Myanmar’s military claimed was marred by massive voter fraud.
All three were tried by a special court inside Naypyitaw Prison. They have been in regime custody since the military seized power in a coup on February 1 of last year.
Hla Thein, a 74-year-old former professor from Meiktila University, was appointed chair of the UEC after the 2015 election, which the now-deposed ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won in a landslide.
Myint Naing, who is also 74 years old, was also the UEC’s spokesperson. He joined the commission prior to 2015 and had also served as a parliamentary advisor on legal matters.
According to Khin Maung Oo, a member of the new, junta-appointed UEC, the cases against the three defendants were among 373 filed by the commission since last year’s military takeover. At a press conference held in Naypyitaw on July 1, he said that action had already been taken in 369 cases.
Despite the military’s claims of widespread voter fraud, the UEC revealed earlier this year that it had discovered just over 3,200 instances of double voting and other irregularities, representing barely more than 0.1% of the votes cast in 2020.
The junta has also used its claims of a stolen election to lay charges against senior leaders of Myanmar’s elected civilian government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
It has also imprisoned and fined a total of 2,173 local election workers for allegedly failing to ensure that votes were cast and counted correctly.