X2O pavilion bomb suspect sentenced to death



Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Phyo Wai Aung, 32, an engineer who was charged with alleged involvement in a 2010 bombing at the X2O Water Festival pavilion in Rangoon, was sentenced to death by an Insein Prison Court on Tuesday.

His lawyer, Kyaw Hoe, told Mizzima the court handed down the death sentence based on charges that included premeditated homicide, unlawful association and violations of the Immigration Act. Phyo Wai Aung pleaded innocent to the charges, and said he was tortured during interrogations.

Lawyer Kyaw Hoe said that he would submit an appeal against the verdict issued by Judge Aung Thein of the Rangoon Region Northern District Court in Insein Prison.

“We are not satisfied with the verdict because the legal processes were unfair,” Kyaw Hoe said. “We told the court that he [Phyo Wai Aung] was tortured and forced to confess, so it [the confession]is not legal according to the law. But the court did not accept that so we will appeal.”

A death sentence can only be carried out after the appeal period has expired, he said. Burma has not executed a prisoner since 1988.

On Sunday, the Asia Human Rights Commission issued a statement citing a litany of abuses in handling the Phyo Wai Aung case, including illegal arrest, illegal detention, torture, illegally obtained confession and a closed trial.

On April 15, 2010, three bombs exploded at the X2O water festival pavilion on Kandawgyi Circular Road in Rangoon. Ten people died and about 170 were injured, in what was described as the worst terrorist incident in Burma in decades.

Former Police Chief Khin Yi [now Immigration and Population Minister]said in a press conference on May 6, 2010, that three members of the organization, Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW), based on the Thai-Burmese border, were responsible for the bomb blasts.

On April 23, police arrested Phyo Wai Aung at his home in Pazundaung Township in Rangoon and alleged that he abetted the bomb attack and was a member of VBSW.


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