A court in military-dominated Myanmar has sentenced a retired major to a decade in prison for writing an article deemed subversive and distributing it to overseas media, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Nay Myo Zin, 36, was arrested in April, accused of harming national security, the rule of law, peace and stability and national unity with his article on reforming Myanmar’s military and dictatorship.
He was accused of sending the article by email to pro-democracy activists and media-in-exile, such as the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). The article is believed to have been published on the Internet.
“He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment last Friday under the electronic act at a closed-door special court in Insein prison,” one of his lawyers, Hla Myo Myint, told AFP.
“After his sentence, he said he didn’t do anything to harm the country, the people and the military. He said he was sentenced unfairly.”
Hla Myo Myint said the defence planned to appeal on behalf of the defendant.
A civilian administration has been nominally in charge of Myanmar since March, following a controversial election last year, but its ranks are dominated by former generals.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders describes Myanmar’s legislation on Internet use, the Electronic Act, as “one of the most liberticidal laws in the world”, with online dissidents facing lengthy prison terms.
Courts in Myanmar have a record of handing long prison sentences to journalists found working for overseas media critical of the regime.
In May, the DVB launched an appeal for worldwide pressure to secure the release of its 17 video journalists in jail in Myanmar.
The lawyer said Nay Myo Zin cannot walk after an accident in prison and his family was unable to attend the trial.
He said the defendant retired from the military in 2005 and went to work as a driver in Singapore before returning in 2007 and opening an Internet cafe.