Two Boys in Myanmar Arrested For Possessing Explosives

Seven villagers from Ohn Pin Chan in Mandalay Region’s Sintgaing Township have been detained at the township’s police station since July 6, locals said; the boys are charged with possessing explosives.
Villagers were arrested following a shootout between military forces and the Sintgaing People’s Defence Force (PDF) near Tada-U airport, in which a junta soldier was killed and a PDF member was arrested.
Troops from the military council then raided the Shwe Kyal Sin tea shop, arresting its owner, 32-year-old Min Thu Tun, his 12-year-old son Aung Swan Pyae, and a 15-year-old waiter.
Local sources report that Min Thu Tun’s wife, Tin Nwe Hlaing, his brother-in-law, and two other employees were also detained.
Local residents claim that soldiers found homemade grenades while searching a hut near the tea shop.
“The whole family was abused,” said the resident. “I have heard that the tea shop owner is being brutally tortured at the interrogation center. There are even reports that he has died.”
They are charged with violating two sections of the colonial-era Explosive Substances Act for creating or possessing explosives and for being an accessory to the crime of doing so. The charges each carry a prison sentence of five to 14 years.
On July 12, they had their first closed court hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for Friday, according to their lawyers.
“During the previous court hearing, the kids asked for help. Their response was that they had nothing to do with it. An attorney for the boys reported the boys were in good health, according to a close friend of the family.
On July 8, a Sintgaing PDF member confirmed to Myanmar Now on the phone that the explosives found by the military belonged to their armed group, not to the tea shop family.
After a PDF member was caught near the airport, the military learned about the explosives. “It is really sad to see women and children detained,” the PDF member said.
The call to the Sintgaing police station went unanswered.
Several civilians have been questioned by the military to determine whether they are affiliated with the local anti-junta PDFs. Multiple reports have been made of children being subjected to such interrogations and abuse, but the military council has not made any statement concerning the arrests of minors.
On June 13, the Mandalay Region’s military council detained a 44-year-old woman and her two underage daughters of a protest leader they had been unable to track down after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
The five-year-old girl was released from prison two weeks later, but the wife and 17-year-old daughter were sentenced to three years in prison for incitement recently.

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