Myanmar reporter gets additional ten-year sentence for covering protest

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar to take up the case of a video reporter who has just been sentenced to an additional ten years in prison on a terrorism charge for covering a flash mob protest in Yangon. The special rapporteur should press for new sanctions against Myanmar’s generals, RSF says.

The ten-year sentence was passed on 26 May on Myanmar Press Photo Agency video reporter Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun in the utmost secrecy inside Insein prison, a notorious jail located in a northern suburb of Yangon, Myanmar largest city.

Asking not to be identified, her lawyer told RSF that Hmu Yadanar was convicted under article 50 (j) of Myanmar’s terrorism law, which penalises the “financing of terrorism.” She was already given a three-year sentence under a separate penal code charge last December.

All she did was film a flash mob-style protest in Yangon on 5 December 2021 that had been organised on social media. Despite sustaining serious head and leg injuries when soldiers ran her down with a military vehicle as she filmed the protest, she has been held ever since.

“By imposing this additional ten-year sentence on Hmu Yadanar, the military junta led by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing has yet again demonstrated the extraordinary scale of the tyranny to which reporters are subjected to Myanmar. We urge Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, to take up this high symbolic case in order to seek effective international sanctions against its military rulers.

Daniel Bastard
Head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk

The three-year sentence that Hmu Yadanar already received last December was imposed on a charge of inciting rebellion under article 505 (a) of the penal code. Her lawyer said she has decided not to appeal against her latest sentence to avoid giving an appeal court any chance to lengthen it.

Hmu Yadanar is one of a total of 70 journalists and media workers currently held in Myanmar’s prisons, according to RSF’s press freedom barometer.

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