The ousted chair of Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) and two other senior election officials have each been sentenced to three years in prison.
UEC chair Hla Thein, secretary Myint Naing, and commission member Than Htay were sentenced under Section 130a of the Penal Code last Thursday, according to court sources.
The charge is related to alleged violations of electoral laws during the 2020 general election, which Myanmar’s military claimed was marred by massive voter fraud.
All three were tried by a special court inside Naypyitaw Prison. They have been in regime custody since the military seized power in a coup on February 1 of last year.
Hla Thein, a 74-year-old former professor from Meiktila University, was appointed chair of the UEC after the 2015 election, which the now-deposed ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won in a landslide.
Myint Naing, who is also 74 years old, was also the UEC’s spokesperson. He joined the commission prior to 2015 and had also served as a parliamentary advisor on legal matters.
According to Khin Maung Oo, a member of the new, junta-appointed UEC, the cases against the three defendants were among 373 filed by the commission since last year’s military takeover. At a press conference held in Naypyitaw on July 1, he said that action had already been taken in 369 cases.
Despite the military’s claims of widespread voter fraud, the UEC revealed earlier this year that it had discovered just over 3,200 instances of double voting and other irregularities, representing barely more than 0.1% of the votes cast in 2020.
The junta has also used its claims of a stolen election to lay charges against senior leaders of Myanmar’s elected civilian government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
It has also imprisoned and fined a total of 2,173 local election workers for allegedly failing to ensure that votes were cast and counted correctly.
At least 35 charred bodies found in Karenni State village on Christmas
The KNDF says that Myanmar junta troops are responsible for the massacre of who they believe to be men, women and children fleeing clashes near a Karenni village
According to KNDF spokesperson Khu Reedu, who is also the group’s Secretary 3, the soldiers captured in the village of Dungkame (Dawkame) on Saturday admitted to their involvement in the massacre.
“They confessed to the crime themselves,” said Khu Reedu, adding that the prisoners would be handed over to the Karenni State Police (KSP), a resistance law enforcement agency, and detained in accordance with international law.
Myanmar Now was unable to speak to the prisoners or regime officials regarding the KNDF spokesperson’s claims.
Investigators who inspected the site of the mass killing said they found the charred remains of 26 men and five women, including two aid workers, among more than a dozen vehicles consumed by fire. Many more bodies were reduced to ash and collected in bags.
Local residents and resistance forces accused the LID 66 troops of deliberately starting the inferno, but the regime claimed that it was caused by the accidental explosion of fuel containers loaded on some of the vehicles.
The KSP and the shadow National Unity Government’s Ministry of Human Rights said that plans were underway to prosecute regime officials for the incident, but no details about the progress of the proceedings were available.
Save the Children says two staffers were among those killed in Christmas massacre
The aid group called on the UN Security Council to convene as soon as possible to hold the Myanmar military to account for the deadly attack on humanitarian workers
Troops from LID 66, who are believed to have killed dozens of civilians in Karenni State, are stationed throughout the town
Rohingya held in Karen State prison suffering from malnutrition
Two prisoners recently released from Hpa-an’s Taung Kalay Prison say that Rohingya detainees there are facing extreme privation
By officially transferring ownership of razed Rohingya villages to border guard forces, the regime seeks to erase the final traces of their existence