Two NLD MPs and one youth group member released from Insein Prison

Thy military released the two legislators and a member of the Rakhine State Youth Committee, the brother of another NLD MP, that it had imprisoned three months after the 2021 coup on charges of unlawful association

Two National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmakers and a Rakhine State Youth Executive Committee member were released from Insein Prison on Friday morning after serving sentences for unlawful association. 

Ba Myo Thein and Soe Lay are elected members of the Amyotha Hluttaw, the upper house of Myanmar’s parliament, and members of the pro-democracy NLD party ousted in the military coup of February 2021. 

Soe Lay has returned home to Rakhine State, and Ba Myo Thein is in need of treatment for cataracts after his release, according to a fellow member of parliament (MP) in communication with the released legislators. 

“Ba Myo Thein needs his cataracts removed but otherwise he’s healthy. He opted not to get the surgery in the prison hospital and is planning to do it now,” the MP said.

He added that Ba Myo Thein was at his brother’s house in Thingangyun Township, Yangon.

The MPs and the Rakhine youth organisation member, Hein Min Htet, had all been arrested in May 2021, three months after the military coup. 

Ba Myo Thein and Soe Lay were arrested at the NLD party headquarters in Bahan Township, Yangon, and Hein Min Htet was arrested along with his sister, Ni Ni May Myint, another NLD lawmaker representing Taungup Township, Rakhine State. Ni Ni May Myint was released on January 4. 

The military council convicted all three detainees in May 2022 under the Unlawful Association Act Section 17 (1), a charge which carries a prison sentence of up to three years. 

Before the military seized power from the NLD government in 2021, Ba Myo Thein served as chair of the Farmers’ Affairs Committee of the Amyotha Hluttaw. Soe Lay held the office of vice chair of the NLD for Rakhine State and also served on the Farmers’ Affairs Committee.

The Myanmar military has arrested at least 25,374 people in connection with the 2021 coup, of whom 5,724 have been released and 7,996 are currently serving prison sentences, according to information collected by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP) as of Friday.

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