Myanmar court awards death sentence to 2010 bomber
A COURT in Myanmar on Tuesday sentenced a 33- year-old man to death over a series of bomb blasts in Yangon in April 2010 that killed 10 people and wounded dozens more, his lawyer said. A special court inside Insein prison convicted Phyo Wai Aung on seven charges including plotting to kill, said Kyaw Hoe.
“We’re not satisfied with the final verdict as it is not true. We will appeal for him,” the lawyer told. “The confession was taken after oppressing the accused and it was not legal.” Phyo Wai Aung is also suffering from poor health, he added. “His health condition is not so good as he has liver problems,” said Kyaw Hoe.
The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) alleges that the suspect was physically and psychologically tortured, denied his rights as a detainee and the right to a fair trial.
According to Amnesty International, no death row prisoner in Myanmar is known to have been executed since 1988. A year ago, Myanmar’s new quasi-civilian government commuted all death sentences to life imprisonment.
The 2010 attack the worst in five years in Myanmar’s main city came as thousands of people gathered for waterthrowing festivities to mark the Buddhist New Year.
Myanmar’s police announced shortly afterwards they had arrested a suspect who they said was a member of a militant exile group called “the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors”.
Myanmar has been hit by a string of bomb blasts in recent years which the junta has blamed on armed exile groups or ethnic rebels. In May 2005, blasts at two Yangon supermarkets and a convention centre killed 23 people.
The government said it freed more than 300 political prisoners in an amnesty in January, a move which prompted the United States to pledge it would restore full diplomatic ties.
About 200 others were let out in October 2011, and estimates of the number still behind bars vary. The AAPP says more than 900 political prisoners remain locked up in Myanmar, while Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party estimates their number at about 330.
Myanmar, which languished for decades under a repressive junta, has announced a series of reforms since a controversial 2010 election brought a civilian government to power albeit one with close links to the military.