MYANMAR – Christian leaders convicted for exposing human rights abuses
Two Christian leaders, Dumdaw Nawng Lat, 67, and Langjaw Gam Seng, 35, were imprisoned for a combined six and a half years for “exposing the military’s crimes.” The Lashio District Court, in the northern Shan State, passed the sentence on 27 October 2017.
The two leaders assisted visiting journalists reporting on damage caused by military airstrikes to a church and other civilian structures in Muse, northern Shan State, in late 2016. Consequently, the military arrested them on 24 December 2016. Signed confessions that they supported the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) – which their lawyers claim were signed under extreme duress – were the only evidence used to convict them.
“The outrageous prosecution of the two religious leaders for reporting on abuses shows the need for international inquiries in Myanmar,” a spokesperson for Fortify Rights said.
Ethnic Burman identity is closely linked to Buddhism in this 87% Buddhist nation. Christianity is portrayed as a foreign religion, although it has been present since the late 1700s. The mainly Christian Kachin people suffer great persecution, including desecration of their churches, sexual violence, and forced conversions.
From Human Rights Watch here