Two volunteer teachers detained by the military and accused of involvement with ethnic armed groups were released on bail on Monday.
News leaked on Monday that the police at the Pyin Oo Lwin Myoma station were moving forward with an investigation into brothers Sai Hkun Mong and Sai Leng Zuen, age 28 and 24, respectively. It was believed they were going to be charged with violating Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act for communicating with ethnic armed organizations regarding attacks in Pyin Oo Lwin on August 15. Sai Hkun Mong and Sai Leng Zuen’s family, colleagues, and community maintained their innocence.
Their relatives waited outside the police station for updates, but were informed that the authorities had not gathered enough evidence to prosecute the young men.
The brothers—also volunteer teachers at the Kaw Dai school in southern Shan State—were transferred to Pyintha police station that evening, and released on bail.
“It’s good news for us because we had to wait for the whole day. They don’t have enough evidence to charge them with violations of Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act,” Sai Ou Kham, a friend of the brothers, told SHAN.
A chair of the Shan Literature and Culture Association and an uncle of the brothers signed for their bail.
Another case against the men is pending, regarding their possession of walkie-talkies, which could lead them to be charged with violations of the Electronics Act. The founder of the Kaw Dai school said that the device is typically used when organizing group events and festivals at the school, and does not indicate a link to an ethnic armed group.
Military intelligence agents arrested Sai Hkun Mong on August 17 at his home, and Sai Leng Zuen on August 19, when he returned from Kaw Dai. The agents said that they suspected the brothers of acting in connection with an attack on the Defense Services Technological Academy in Pyin Oo Lwin in mid-August by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Arakan Army. They and their family have denied the accusation.