Pastor Dom Dawng Nawng Latt, 65, has become weak, lacks energy and suffers from asthma and dysentery, according to fellow pastor La Jaw Gam Hseng, 35, who is on trial with him.
Khon Peng, the wife of Pastor Dom, reported that he is increasingly discouraged: “He has to share the room with 40 people in custody. So it is very tough for him…. he suffers both mentally and physically”. Even though Pastor Dom was transferred from Mongko town in Muse Township to Lashio in April, Khon has been able to visit her husband a few times, bringing him needed food and medicine.
The two assistant pastors were arrested for helping local journalists cover news of attacks on a church building in northern Shan state in November 2016. On 24 December, they went to the Byuha Gon military base to negotiate the release of a civilian couple who had complained to army officials about the destruction of their house. The military officials decided to release the couple and, instead, detain the clergymen.
An army prosecutor has charged the two pastors with recruiting and spying for armed ethnic groups such as the Kachin Independence Army, the second largest ethnic armed group in Myanmar. The two pastors, along with other denominational leaders, deny the charge. Sources believe the army arrested the two pastors for enabling the three local journalists to take pictures of a church building that was bombed by Burmese army jets last November.
Sources: Morning Star News, International Christian Concern