DMG Newsroom
6 August 2022, Sittwe

Two residents from the Arakan State capital Sittwe who were detained by Myanmar’s military regime for “being unable to give a satisfactory explanation about why they were loitering at night” were sentenced to one month in prison on August 5, according to family members.

U Maung Shwe Thein, 44, and Ko Maung Maung Myo Oo, 24, were sentenced to one month in prison and Maung Phyo Ngwe Soe, 17, was sentenced to pay a fine of K100,000 as he is a minor.

The three residents of Sittwe’s Mingan ward were detained by junta soldiers at around 8:30 p.m. on August 4.

“The military sent the three men to No. 1 Myoma police station through the Mingan police station,” Daw San San, the wife of U Maung Shwe Thein, told DMG. “No. 1 police station filed a lawsuit against the three men and the court sentenced them to one month in prison. Maung Phyo Ngwe Soe was sentenced to pay a fine of K100,000 and released as he is an underage boy.”

An unnamed resident of Mingan ward criticised the court ruling.

“The sentence is totally unacceptable. There are times when the electricity is almost always cut off at night. People may want to go to another house at night for some reason. I think arresting and jailing people because they can’t explain why they are out at night is threatening to scare the public,” the unnamed resident added.

The offence, which can be literally translated as “hiding in the dark,” is part of an article in the colonial-era Myanmar Police Act, which authorises police to arrest, without a warrant, anyone who can’t satisfactorily explain why they are at a particular place at night. It is not a bailable offence.

Two residents from Sittwe’s Danyawaddy ward were detained by Myanmar’s military regime under the provision, and were likewise sentenced to one month in prison, on June 30.

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