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Leaders of suspect Christian organisation sentenced to prison for kidnapping

Nan Nilar Htun, seen here, was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday. (Image: DVB TV)

The leaders of a Christian group that has been described as a “cult,” which was deemed illegal by Burmese authorities, have been sentenced to three years in prison after a court in Irrawaddy Region found them guilty on charges of kidnapping.

The court in Kyonpyaw Township on Friday sentenced both Mahn Win Myint and Nan Nilar Htun, who headed the “Society of the Disciples of Christ,” to three years in prison on kidnapping charges under the Penal Code’s article 363, said Mahn Htaung Sein of the Kyonpyaw-Kyaungkon Pwo Karen Baptist Church.

The kidnapping trial against the pair began more than a year ago when the parents of a 15-year-old girl from Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu Township filed a lawsuit claiming their daughter was not allowed to return home after joining a 40-day religious training course.

In late 2017, news circulated on social media suggesting that people were being held against their will inside the Society’s compound in Kyonpyaw and the Irrawaddy regional government, after being made aware of the situation, ordered an investigation into the group’s activities, subsequently prohibiting it from gathering for prayers and religious trainings.

In an interview with DVB, Nan Nilar Htun previously denied the allegations, asserting that no one was being held against their will.