Myanmar court sentences three Muslim, Hindu activists

Interfaith activists in Mandalay sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Members of Pat Jasan, an anti-drug vigilante in northern Kachin state on February 26, 2016.

Three interfaith Muslim and Hindu activists have been sentenced with two-year prison terms hard labour, their lawyer said on Monday, after activists raised fears over a campaign against them by Buddhist nationalists.

Muslim and Hindu interfaith activists, including two men and one woman from the central city of Mandalay were arrested in July 2015 and accused of crossing Myanmar's frontier with India after they shared photos at the border via social media, according to Thein Than Oo, a lawyer representing two of the defendants.

"Zaw Zaw Latt, Pwint Phyu Latt and Zaw Win Bo were sentenced two years with hard labour" under the immigration act at Mandalay's Chan Aye Tharzan court on Friday, he told AFP.

"I think it's too harsh," he added.

According to Tharzan, both Zaw Zaw Latt and Pwint Phyu Latt will be sentenced on March 3, accused under the unlawful associations act for a separate visit into the territory of ethnic minority rebels in the northern Kachin state.

Myanmar has earned plaudits internationally for sweeping reforms since the end of junta rule in 2011, including a political opening that enabled Aung San Suu Kyi to lead her National League for Democracy to victory in November elections. Her party is due to form a government in April.

But campaigners have warned that some freedoms have been rolled back, with several activists detained for Facebook posts satirising the army in recent months.