Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five given prison terms in Water Festival bombings

Thursday, 24 February 2011 11:59 Myint Maung

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Ahlone and Kamayut township courts have handed down prison terms ranging from two to 11 years to five people arrested following the bomb explosions during the Water Festival in Rangoon in April 2010, sources said.

A series of three bomb explosions at the Water Festival in
Rangoon killed eight people and wounded 94 others in
April 2010. Photo : Mizzima
The five are Myo Min Thu, Thaw Zin, Bo Bo Thein, Thaung Htike Oo and Yan Aung Soe. Police arrested the group in the days following the X2O pavilion bombings.

After the authorities failed to establish any involvement in the bombings, the five were later charged with offenses involving contacting anti-junta opposition organisations and committing offences against the state and public peace.

Myo Min Thu and Thaw Zin received six years imprisonment each under section 13(1) of the Immigration Emergency Provisions Act and section 17(1)(2) of Unlawful Associations Act. They were also given an additional two years each by the Kamayut Township court under section 505(b) of the Penal Code, involving offences against the state.

Bo Bo Then was sentenced a total prison term of 11 years. He was also charged with a second offense involving drugs. Thaung Htike Oo and Yannaung Soe were sentenced to two years each for committing offences against the state and public peace.

‘They were charged with contacting the National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) and Generation Wave (GW) and they were also accused of distributing anti-government leaflets’, said attorney Kyaw Hoe.

He said that Myo Min Thu, Thaw Zin, Bo Bo Thein and four other youths were arrested in a ground floor flat at No. 29, First Street, Ward No. 4, near the Hledan station in Kamayut Township on April 24, 2010, for suspicion of illegal involvement in political activities.

Out of the seven-member group, four are still standing trial, he said.

Lawyer Myint Oo said he will appeal all of the verdicts in district courts.

In other court actions, on February 2 the Rangoon East District Court sentenced Kaung Myat Hlaing, 22, of South Dagon Township to 10 years imprisonment under section 33(a) of the Electronic Law. He was arrested in connection with the bomb blast case at X2O pavilion on April 15, 2010.

In another case, reporters Maung Maung Zeya and his son, Sithu Zeya, were arrested in April 2010 for taking photographs of the bomb blast scene.

The junta blamed the bombings on anti-government
dissident groups and ethnic rebel groups seeking
autonomy. The bombings were condemned by many
pro-democracy groups. Photo : Mizzima
Sithu Zeya was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the Mingala Taungnyunt Township court on December 21, 2010. Sithu Zeya received a three-year prison term under section 13(1) of the Immigration Emergency Provisions Act and an additional five-year term under section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act. He is also being tried in one additional case.

Maung Maung Zeya was sentenced to a total of 13 years imprisonment by a special court in Insein Prison on February 4 on a charge of illegally crossing the border, contacting unlawful organizations and violation of the Electronic Law.

In the pavilion bombing incident, at a press conference held in Naypyidaw on May 6, 2010, Police Chief Khin Yi said that three members of the organization, Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors based on the Thai-Burmese border, were responsible for the bomb blasts.

Meanwhile, an electric engineer, Phyo Wei Aung, was accused of abetting the bomb blast and is still being held pending his trial. He has denied any involvement in the bombings.

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