child soldier
Former child soldier Aung Ko Htay outside court. Photo: Mizzima News

A Yangon court has handed a former child soldier a jail term of two years with hard labour following his conviction for describing his abduction and forced military service in an interview last year with RFA’s Myanmar Service, Mizzima News reports.

Quoting Radio Free Asia report on March 28 it said, “Aung Ko Htway, 27, who spent nearly a decade as a child soldier, was sentenced under Section 505(b) of the country’s Penal Code, pertaining to making, publishing, or circulating information that may cause public fear or alarm and incite people to commit offenses against the state or disturb public tranquility.’

Speaking outside the court, Aung Ko Htway claimed his rights had been violated that that there is “no rule of law in this country.”

Aung Ko Htway was abducted by a Myanmar army sergeant in 2005 when he was 14 years old and later imprisoned after he and two others escaped and robbed the owner of a motorcycle. One of the other boys choked the man to death, though Aung Ko Htway later said he did not participate in the murder.

It has reported that the Myanmar army has discharged 849 children and young people from its ranks since 2012, when the country signed an agreement with the United Nations to stop recruiting children under 18.

The UN, however, continues to list the Myanmar military and seven ethnic armed groups on its blacklist of organizations around the world that recruit and use child soldiers.

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