Female activist sent to jail in Myanmar

A female activist has been sentenced to one month in jail for a prayer protest for the release of Phyu Hnin Htwe, a student activist who was previously imprisoned.

The activist Tin Mar Yee was given her prison sentence on January 7 by the Chanmyatharsi Township court in Mandalay Region, after being charged under Section 18 of the penal code for protesting without official permission.

Her case had been ongoing since last October.

“Ma Tin Mar Yee is sentenced to one month in jail today for the prayer without official permission. The judge should have fined her and only sent her to jail if she couldn’t pay the fine. But that didn't happen. She was given a prison sentence directly. It’s as if people can be punished if they visit a pagoda for praying in groups unless they seek an official permission in advance. Why was our group alone punished? This is the result of an unfair legal system,” said Nay Su Hlaing from Tamaryeik Women’s Group.

The group led the protest, which took place on September 29, 2013, at the Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Mandalay.

Following her sentencing, Tin Mar Yee was sent straight to Ohbo Prison.

This case has been compared to the arrests of protesters against the Letpadungtaung copper mine project.

On September 13, 2014, police arrested Phyu Hnin Htwe at her house in Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region, for her involvement in the abduction of two Chinese workers and sent her to Monywa Prison, Sagaing Region. She hoped to help farmers who had been forcibly evicted from their lands to make way for the Chinese-backed Letpadaungtaung copper mine in Sagaing Region.