Myanmar reporter sentenced to six years in prison
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the international community, starting with the United Nations, to reinforce sanctions against Myanmar’s military government after a reporter for Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), Aung San Lin, was sentenced on 7 July to a total of six years of hard labour on "terrorism" and "false news" charges.
“Myanmar’s judicial system, which takes its orders from the generals, now regards journalistic work as ‘terrorism’ and ‘false news,’” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “Faced with this escalation in the persecution, the international community must not and cannot continue to ignore the drama being played out against journalists in Myanmar. We call on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to intervene without delay and to reinforce sanctions against Myanmar’s junta as the only way to stop it resorting to more and more terror.”
Seven months in “provisional detention”
A reporter for many years for DVB, a historic protagonist in the struggle for an independent press in Myanmar, Aung San Lin was convicted by a military court in Wetlet, a town in Myanmar’s northwestern Sagaing region.
His combined sentence of six years of hard labour consisted of two years under Section 505 (a) of the penal code, which penalises “false news” and is most often used against independent journalists, and four years under Section 52 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law, which penalises undefined “terrorist acts.”
After being arrested at his home near Wetlet, without any official grounds being given, on 11 December 2021, during a surge in army violence against journalists, Aung San Lin spent seven months in “provisional” detention before being brought to trial. His family received no news about him during the first few weeks.
He is the fifth DVB journalist to be jailed since the military coup on 1 February 2021. According to RSF’s press freedom barometer, a total of 66 journalists and media workers are currently detained arbitrarily in Myanmar. Before the coup, only two were detained.