In Myanmar, the court rehears the case of journalist Hmue Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun, who was sentenced to 3 years for filming an anti-military protest in December 2022, violating the anti-terrorism law. The court added 10 years to Yadanar’s sentence and sentenced him to 13 years in total.
Hmue Yadanar’s lawyer, who did not want her name to be disclosed because she was afraid of the harsh military administration in the country, stated in her statement that the Thingangyun District Court in the capital Yangon added 10 more years to the case of her client, who was previously sentenced to 3 years in prison, in the case on 27 May.
Journalist Yadanar’s lawyer stated that the court accused his client of violating the anti-terror law by supporting insurgent groups in the country, which the military junta calls terrorist groups.
The lawyer also stated that his client Yadanar’s allegations that he had financial ties to resistance groups were proven to be untrue, but the judge said that the evidence was insufficient. He also added that Hmue Yadanar has decided not to appeal the sentence.
Daniel Bastard, Head of the Asia-Pacific Desk at Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said: “The military junta led by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing has given Hmu Yadanar this 10-year extra sentence for the same case, adding to the scale of the extraordinary bullying of journalists in Myanmar. It showed once again.” used the phrase.
Bastard also added, “We call on Tom Andrews, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar, to consider this symbolic case for the enforcement of effective international sanctions against the junta’s leaders.” said.
J Paing, founder and editor of Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, where Yadanar works, said: “The conviction clearly demonstrates the military council’s attitude and intent towards journalists. Freedom of the press is now far away,” he commented.
Journalist Hmue Yadanar was sentenced to three years in prison to work in hard labor camps in December 2022, along with her colleague Kaung Sett Lin, a photographer at the same agency, accused of recording anti-junta protests.
In addition, Yadanar and Kaung Sett Lin were detained along with 9 protesters while recording a demonstration against military rule in Yangon in December 2021. In the incident, he was seriously injured as a result of being hit by an army vehicle. Yadanar’s left ear was split in two, his left cheek was torn in two, the bones of his left wrist were broken, and 15 stitches were put on his head.
The Myanmar military has forced at least 12 media outlets to shut down since it seized power in February 2021 and has detained a total of 150 journalists, more than 50 of whom are still in detention.
Most imprisoned journalists are held in jail for allegations of intimidation, spreading fake news, or incitement against a government employee.
military coup in Myanmar
The Myanmar army seized power on February 1, 2021, after allegations of fraud were made in the 2020 general elections and there was political tension in the country. The army had detained many officials and ruling party leaders, especially the country’s de facto leader and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, and declared a state of emergency for a year.
As a result of the armed intervention of the Myanmar army against the anti-coup protesters and rebel groups, more than 1800 people have lost their lives so far. While approximately 13 thousand people have been detained since the coup, over 10 thousand people are still detained.
According to the Political Prisoners Aid Organization (AAPP), more than 1,900 people have died in the country since the coup, and more than 10,000 people have been detained. Myanmar military courts have sentenced to death for 114 political prisoners, including 2 children.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Myanmar is one of the world’s largest prisons for journalists. Myanmar ranks 173 out of 180 countries this year in the organization’s World Press Freedom Index.