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Man who tossed petrol bomb at Suu Kyi’s residence sentenced to five years in prison

Suspect Win Naing is pictured behind potential evidentiary materials. (Photo: Yangon Police Force)

A man charged with throwing a petrol bomb into the compound of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this year has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Win Naing, 48, was found guilty by a court in Yangon’s Bahan Township on Monday.

On Feb. 1, the suspect targeted Suu Kyi’s lakeside residence on University Avenue in Bahan with a Molotov cocktail. No one was injured at the compound, only limited property damage was reported, and Suu Kyi herself was in the capital Naypyidaw at the time.

Win Naing was convicted under section 436 of the Penal Code, covering destruction of a residential property through use of fire or an explosive substance. The provision carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Suu Kyi’s lakeside Yangon residence is something of a city landmark, given that she spent more than a decade under house arrest there. The gate outside her house was frequently a rallying point for Burma’s pro-democracy movement under military rule.

The incident in February does not appear to have been politically motivated and Win Naing’s mental health was one subject of trial proceedings, with the man reportedly having received treatment multiple times at a mental hospital.

Questioned by police following his arrest, Win Naing said he had lobbed the crude incendiary device at the home of the state counsellor because, according to the Yangon Police Force, he believed that a person or people inside the compound had engaged in sorcery. More specifically, he said a spell had been cast that caused him to smell a foul odour, which in turn prevented him from sleeping.

The court in Bahan heard from nine witnesses for the prosecution before handing down Monday’s guilty verdict.