Saturday, August 27, 2011

Former military officer sentenced to 10 years in prison under Electronics Act

Saturday, 27 August 2011 12:40 Te Te

New Delhi (Mizzima) - The day after the UN human rights envoy left Burma, a special court inside Insein Prison in Rangoon sentenced Nay Myo Zin, a leading volunteer in a blood donation group and a former military officer, to 10 years in prison for possession of an e-mail critical of the military.

Nay Myo Zin, a former Burmese Army
captain and an active volunteer in a
blood donor group, receives a 10-year
prison sentence. Photo: Youth
Network For People
The verdict was reached after a nearly four-month trial, and Nay Myo Zin’s family was not allowed to attend Friday’s one-hour closed hearing. Rangoon North District Judge Khin Maung announced the verdict, saying an article insulting the army was found in Nay Myo Zin’s e-mail account, according to defence attorney Hla Myo Myint.

Because of a lower back injury sustained during a fall in the prison, Nay Myo Zin appeared at the hearing in a wheelchair. According to lawyer Hla Myo Myint, Nay Myo Zin told the judge: “It is totally unfair that the court sentenced a young man who loyally did good things for the country to 10 years in prison. So, I will not make appeal.”

On the other hand, Nay Myo Zin’s lawyers, who members of the National League for Democracy, said they wanted to file an appeal.

“The prosecution could not show clearly that the authorities got the documents from him [Nay Myo Zin]. We argued that the seizure of his documents and computer were not done according to the law,” Hla Myo Myint said.

Nay Myo Zin’s e-mail contained critical comments on the army by Major Aung Lin Htut and NLD central executive committee member Win Tin, which were given to exile media. The comments said that the minds of today’s soldiers were in turmoil, according to sources. Other details were not known.

Nay Myo Zin, 35, resigned from the army as a captain in 2005, after serving nearly 10 years. He is not a member of any political party. He was an active volunteer in a blood donation group before he was arrested. Because of his lower back injury, he was sent from Insein Prison to an orthopedic hospital in Kyimyindine Township in Rangoon Region one week ago.

Nay Myo Zin, the owner of an Internet café, was arrested at his home in South Dagon Township by special police on April 2. Two weeks later, authorities seized his mobile phone and a computer in his home.

He was arrested without an arrest warrant, and he was detained for more than three weeks without being taken before a magistrate. The Asian Human Rights Commission issued a statement in late April saying that Burmese authorities had violated his rights as a citizen according to the 2008 Constitution.

The South Dagon BG blood donation group said that when recent meetings between pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and government officials were underway, they questioned why higher officials appeared to hold one set of views and lower officials another.

Nyi Nyi, a leader of the blood donation group, said, “The inferior officials are spoiling the things that the superior officials do.”

The Electronics Act, which is often used to prosecute people for human rights activities, was imposed in 2004 under the former junta led by Senior-General Than Shwe. Under the Electronics Act, a person who undermines state security, community peace and tranquility or national solidarity can be sentenced from seven to of 15 years in prison.

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