KNU leader jailed for 17-years

After being reported ‘as disappeared’ during his trip to China in August 2011, Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung, a Karen National Union central executive committee member it was reported in Burma’s media that on December 8, the KNU official was tried and sentenced at Mingaladon court in Rangoon to 17 years in jail.

KNU sources said that the report about Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung jailing appear true despite his family or the KNU having no official confirmation.

Major Saw Hla Ngwe, joint secretary of the KNU spoke to Karen News and said.

“It is very likely true if we look at the information we’ve got and what the journal reported.”

Major Saw Hla Ngwe said there was evidence that Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung was being held in Insein Prison and that the KNU received information that people who knew him at an interrogation camp had seen him.

Burma’s government has refused to deny or confirm Padoh Mahn Nyein Mung’s sentence. The government regards the KNU as an illegal organization, in spite being in the process of holding ceasefire talks with the armed group.

The Pan Journal reported that Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung, who was reported missing during a trip to China, had been arrested by Chinese authorities at Kunming airport and transferred back to Rangoon airport. There he was charged under Burma’s Immigration Act and later tried at Mingaladon court on September 27, 2011 and sentenced to one year imprisonment.

The Pan Journal said it was only after an official from Burma’s Interior Ministry discovered Mahn Nyein Muang was an executive member of the KNU, that he was charged and tried under the Illegal Organization Act 17 (1) on December 8.

Naw Wah, the wife of Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung, who lives on the Thai border, said she has heard conflicting information about her husband’s ‘disappearance’, but one thing she says she knows for sure is that she cannot get in contact with him.

“I keep hearing different news about him, but I am still not able to get in touch with him and I don’t know for sure what is going on with him. Our relatives inside Burma are afraid – they also can’t get in touch.”

Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung was a KNU central executive member and also responsible for ethnic alliance affairs at the time he was arrested.

It is not the first the KNU official ran foul of the government authorities. In 1967, Padoh Mahn Nyein Mung was jailed and charged with political related crimes and sent to Ko Koe Kyun detention camp – a notorious island in southern Burma in the Andaman Sea. Padoh Mahn Nyein Mung escaped with two other prisoners crossing the sea in a small boat. He has written and published a book about his experiences – Against the storm, crossing the sea – under his pen name of Ye Baw Shoune.

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