A Myanmar court in Sittwe on Tuesday sentenced prominent Rakhine leader Aye Maung to 20 years in prison for treason and defamation stemming from a January 2018 speech made one day before deadly riots broke out.
Maung, a member of parliament and former chairman of the Arakan National Party, along with writer Wai Hin Aung, were arrested days after giving so-called inflammatory speeches. Allegedly, Maung accused the “ethnic Bamar-dominated ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) government of treating the ethnic Rakhine people like ‘slaves.'” Seven people were killed the evening after when Rakhine protestors seized a government building and police opened fire.
Maung’s lawyers are unsure if he will appeal at this time, since high treason carries a maximum sentence of death. Both Maung and Aung received 18 years for treason and two for defamation.