Myanmar army storms villages and murders civilians in northwest resistance stronghold, residents say

According to their lawyers, four student leaders held in the notorious Insein prison in Yangon for almost a year have been sentenced to three years of forced labor for incitement.

Wai Yan Phyo Moe, Sitt Naing, Lay Pyay Soe Moe and Thuta Soe were among hundreds stopped last March for participating in protests in Tamwe township in Yangon.

All four were found guilty of breaching Section 505a of the Penal Code for their role in leading the protests. They were tried by a special prison court and sentenced on Monday, their lawyers said.

“They were very calm and composed when they received the sentence. But I am worried about Wai Yan Phyo Moe, because he has a background inside the prison,” said Thet Naung, the lawyer representing Wai Yan. Phyo Moe and Sitt Naing.

Wai Yan Phyo Moe, who is vice-president of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, has already been sentenced to two years and one month in prison for participating in a countryside calling for restoration of internet access in Rakhine State in 2020.

He is also faced other charges of incitement linked to his anti-coup activism last year.

Wai Yan Phyo Moe, Sitt Naing and Lay Pyay Soe Moe were also tortured and placed in solitary confinement for participating in a protectt inside Insein prison last July, according to statements released by their respective organizations at the time.

Sitt Naing, also known as Zaw Htet Naing, is the vice president of the Yangon Educational University Student Union, while

Lay Pyay Soe Moe is a Central Executive Director of Yangon University Students’ Union.

Thuta Soe, who is a member of the Yankin Educational College Student Union, was among seven prisoners accused of mistreatment by prison authorities for failing to obey orders, Myanmar Now reported last June.

Aung Kaung Sett, president of the Yangon University Students’ Union, said the fact that all four received the maximum sentence for their alleged offenses reflected the junta’s attitude towards its opponents, but would not do nothing to dissuade others from resisting his power.

“We will continue to stick to our anti-dictatorship policies, as we always have,” he said.

According to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), the regime has detained more than 12,000 people since taking power last February. Among them, at least 9,437 were still behind bars as of March 1, the group says on its website.

The regime has also killed nearly 1,600 civilians since the coup, according to the latest AAPP figures.

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