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Myanmar junta sentences strike leader to a further 34 years in prison

A prison court in Sagaing region’s Monywa township has sentenced student activist and anti-regime strike leader Wai Moe Naing to 34 years in prison.

He has already been sentenced to 12 years in prison but will probably only have to serve the longest of all the terms, meaning he will spend 20 years behind bars, Monywa University of Economics Student Union President Shin Thant told RFA. 

“Wai Moe Naing is in good health and passes the time with a strong spirit,” Shin Thant said. 

“He gave a message for his comrades outside to be patient and strong.”

Wednesday’s judgment included a 20 year sentence for robbery, three years for rioting, one year for carrying a deadly weapon in a crowd, one year for inflicting pain on another, and three years for incitement to mutiny under Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code, broadened after the Feb. 2021 coup from only military personnel to include all civil servants.

Wai Moe Naing could face an even longer sentence if two more cases, both carrying maximum 20 year terms, are not served concurrently. He is yet to be tried for the alleged killing of two policemen and sedition, according to his college’s student leaders.

After the military seized power just over two years ago, Wai Moe Naing led anti-regime strikes in Monywa.

On April 15, 2021, he was riding in a column of motorcycles with other protesting students when junta troops and police ran him down in cars and arrested him.

Wai Moe Naing founded the Monywa University Student Union and served as its first president. He is also an author of short stories, magazine articles and online blogs. His short story, Pwint Chain Tan Lyin (When Time Starts to Bloom) was published in Phuu Ngon Sal Kyaw That magazine when he was 13. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.


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