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Nearly 50 Ayeyarwady Region activists and NLD lawmakers hit with treason charges

Nearly 50 people in Ayeyarwady Region initially charged with violating Section 505a of the Penal Code for incitement were hit with additional charges on Wednesday for treason. 

The new charges—violating Sections 122 and 124a of the Penal Code—carry the death penalty or a lifetime prison sentence. 

The plaintiff in the case is the chief of the Pathein District police station. He has directed the charges against 31 activists and 17 current and formerly elected National League for Democracy (NLD) parliamentarians, one of the affected MPs said. 

“They’ve already opened cases against us under 505a. I heard they’re adding more charges to those who are part of CRPH [Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw] or close to them. I also heard we are facing more charges in our township as well,” Ni Ni Moe, a former NLD regional parliamentary representative for Nyaungdon Township’s Constituency 1, said. 

Ni Ni Moe went into hiding after being charged with Section 505a for incitement, and is now facing the two additional charges in Pathein. 

Since the February 1 military coup, 12 people including four NLD lawmakers have been detained in Ayeyarwady. 

Thein Tun, a Lower House representative for Tharpaung Township; Aung Aung Oo, a regional parliamentarian for Tharpaung’s Constituency 1; and Than Htut, a regional representative for Pathein District’s Constituency 1, were arrested on March 31 and charged with incitement. 

Dr. Tin Min Htut, a lawmaker from Pantanaw Township and secretary of Ayeyarwady Region’s NLD office, was arrested on the night of May 15. He is among those facing additional charges for treason. 

Ni Ni Moe told Myanmar Now that while many NLD MPs are facing persecution by the junta, some have opted to side with the coup regime and have given up their elected posts. 

“Before, they filed charges against almost all of the representatives under 505a and now there are additional charges. However, some representatives are casually relaxing at home. I heard some of them have already resigned [from the legislature],” Ni Ni Moe said.

After seizing power, the military amended Section 505a of the Penal Code, increasing the prison sentence for those convicted from two to three years. 

Like Section 505a, Section 124a was also amended by the coup regime. It carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for inciting “disaffection towards the Government […] or the Defence Services.”

Conviction of high treason under Section 122 is accompanied by the death penalty or 20 years’ imprisonment. 

 

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