A married couple who were arrested last year for protesting against the junta in southeastern Myanmar’s Dawei Township have each been hit with heavy prison sentences, a friend of theirs has said.
Zay Lin Oo and his wife Hnin Su Hlaing, both in their 30s, were detained at a rally on Kyan Mar Yae street in Dawei on March 31, two months after the military siezed power in a coup, a report published by the Dawei Watch media outlet said.
On Wednesday Zay Lin Oo was sentenced for multiple alleged crimes, including murder, that added 15 years to the sentence he was already serving. He now faces a total of 21 years in prison.
In November, a judge at the Dawei Prison Court named Myint Myint San gave Zay Lin Oo six years in prison for various charges including inctiment and breaches of weapons control laws. Hnin Su Hlaing received a four-and-a-half-year sentence on similar charges.
The couple have been separated from their 10-year-old son as a result of their detention, and the boy is now staying with his grandparents, the friend told Myanmar Now.
The boy is their only child and they have not been allowed any visits from him, added an officer from the Dawei Political Prisoners Network.
A 30-year-old former political detainee who met Zay Lin Oo in prison said Zay Lin Oo was not guilty of murder and was charged in place of someone else. Myanmar Now was unable to gather further information about the case.
The officer from the Dawei Political Prisoners Network, who also met with Zay Lin Oo in prison, said Zay Lin Oo had been kept in an isolation cell for two months for taking part in protests inside the prison.
“He was brutally tortured during his interrogation,” the officer added. “His face had so many bruises. He was badly beaten on his legs and arms and back before he arrived at the prison. He has been very active about asking for prisoners’ rights as well.”
Zay Lin Oo did charity work helping the victims of natural disasters across Myanmar, according to his friends.
As of March 6, 175 men and 38 women have been sentenced at the Dawei Prison Court for their opposition to last year’s coup, according to figures from the Dawei Political Prisoners Network.
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One of the retired generals who took part in the ceremony told Myanmar Now that it was held to “raise awareness” among pro-junta members of the public