Myanmar human rights defender sentenced
A Myanmar human rights defender was sentenced to eight years in prison for inciting unrest. He was beaten by a pro-government mob.
Myint Naing was sentenced in the Henzeda Township Court, 60 miles northwest of Yangon, Myanmar (Burnma).
Five people others were sentenced to four years imprisonment each. Myint Naing and a fellow member of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network, Maung Maung Lay, were attacked and seriously wounded April 18 at Oakpon village in Henzeda. They were headed to another village to continue to conduct human rights training.
Fify to 100 men with clubs and other homemade weapons attacked them. The attack was carried out by the Union Solidarity and Development Association, a government-backed group accused of assaulting and intimidating the military government’s opponents.
The USDA was linked to attacks against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy supporters in the Yangon in 1997, as well as a deadly attack on the party leader and her supporters in northern Myanmar on May 30, 2003.
The junta created the USDA in 1993 as a social welfare organization. It claims more than 20 million members, more than one-third of the country’s population. Public servants and local officials come under heavy pressure to join.
The military has ruled since 1962, with the latest junta emerging after a 1988 crackdown on pro-democracy protests. The military has been widely accused of atrocities against ethnic minorities and of suppressing the democracy movement.
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