YANGON (AP) – By marching through the traffic-choked streets of Myanmar’s busiest city, handing out leaflets that lambasted the new nominally civilian government, Htin Kyaw showed how much the country has changed since emerging from military rule.
With charges filed in all townships he wound through as he made his way to city hall, he has become a symbol, too, of how has much stayed the same.
The rights activist was found guilty Thursday of disturbing public order – the 11th sentence he has faced from that days-long march through Yangon in late April and early May.
Township court by township court, his sentence has grown. He is now slated to spend the next 12 years and four months behind bars, according to his wife, Than Than Maw.
“The relentless efforts of the Myanmar authorities to silence a critical voice must end immediately,” said Rupert Abbott of rights group Amnesty International.
“The charges … are farcical. He has done nothing but express his opinions.”
Myanmar has been grappling with political reforms since 2011, when the repressive junta ceded power to a government headed by President Thein Sein.