Teen sentenced to 10 years in Myanmar prison for alleged $7 donation to resistance group

A 19-year-old woman was sentenced in a Dawei Prison court in Tanintharyi Region to 10 years in prison with hard labour on Monday for allegedly donating money to an armed resistance force, according to local sources. 

Saung Hnin Phyu, from Ka Lein Aung village in Yephyu Township, was arrested at her home on August 22 last year and charged in Dawei with violating Section 50j of the Counterterrorism Law, which carries a maximum life sentence, and Section 52a of the same law, which is accompanied by up to seven years in prison if convicted.

No official information was available regarding the plaintiff, the prosecutor or the judge in the case. 

Saung Hnin Phyu (Supplied)

A former political prisoner who met Saung Hnin Phyu behind bars in Dawei claimed that she had donated 13,500 kyat (around US$7.60) to an anti-junta resistance force through the mobile app KBZPay. The information was allegedly leaked when a member of the group was captured. 

Saung Hnin Phyu reportedly has a heart condition and suffers from pain in a once-broken arm, according to the prisoner. 

Myanmar Now was unable to verify the details behind the alleged funding, the reasons for Saung Hnin Phyu’s arrest or her current condition in Dawei Prison. 

A representative from the Dawei Prisoners’ Network lamented the lengthy sentence handed to her. 

“She’s only 19 and she hasn’t even attended college yet and they sent her to prison for 10 years. It breaks our heart,” the individual said. 

Two university students from Dawei were also previously sentenced to seven years in prison with hard labour for allegedly donating 5,000 kyat each (less than $3) to a fund for internally displaced people. 

“They want to stop people from donating. They are giving them larger sentences than regular protesters,” the network member said. 

In that case, the representative noted that the students had also used KBZPay. 

As of early March, Dawei’s prison court had already handed jail sentences to 175 men and 38 women since the coup in February last year, according to a statement released by the Dawei Prisoners’ Network. 

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