Jailed Myanmar Protest Leader Faces Possible Death Sentence

Myanmar’s junta added a charge that carries a death sentence against jailed protest leader Ko Wai Moe Naing for his role in the protest movement against military rule.

The 27-year-old pro-democracy activist has been held in Monywa Prison, Sagaing Region, since his arrest in April last year during an anti-regime rally. He has already faced several charges and was given a 10-year sentence in five incitement cases last month.

On August 26 the junta filed a fresh case against him under Article 122 of the Penal Code for leading protests in Monywa and for affiliating with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw of deposed lawmakers, which the junta has declared an unlawful organization, his mother told The Irrawaddy.

Article 122 enforces a death sentence or life in prison for high treason.

Ko Wai Moe Naing defended himself in court as neither of his lawyers was able to attend court. One lawyer was detained and the other has been in hiding for over a month after the junta issued an arrest warrant.

He also faces charges of murder, wrongful confinement, defamation and under the Natural Disaster Management Law.

A hearing for the latest charge is scheduled for September 22.

The regime, which has killed at least 2,273 people since the February 2021 coup, has used the death penalty to intimidate opponents as it struggles to control the country.

It carried out Myanmar’s first execution in nearly four decades in July by hanging four detainees, including veteran democracy activist Ko Jimmy and Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former National League for Democracy lawmaker, who were sentenced to death in January.

The other two victims were Ko Hla Myo Aung and Ko Aung Thura Zaw, who were accused of murdering a woman they believed to be a junta informant.

Irrawaddy News