Bangkok, May 30, 2023—Myanmar authorities should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun and stop imprisoning members of the press for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On May 26, Yangon’s Thingangyun District Court convicted Moh Moh Tun, a reporter for the independent Myanmar Press photo Agency, and sentenced her to 10 years in prison with hard labor under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law, a provision relating to terror financing, according to news reports and the agency’s editor J Paing, who communicated with CPJ by email.
Moh Moh Tun is already serving a separate three-year prison sentence following her conviction in December 2022 under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news.
CPJ could not immediately confirm whether Moh Moh Tun plans to appeal her most recent conviction.
“Myanmar journalist Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun’s harsh sentencing is an outrage, and the charges against her must be dropped immediately,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Myanmar’s junta must stop using terrorism and anti-state charges to suppress the free press and should release all of the reporters it holds behind bars.”
Moh Moh Tun has been held at Yangon’s Insein Prison since her initial arrest on December 5, 2021, while covering an anti-coup protest in Yangon’s Kyimyindaing Township, where several protesters were shot and killed by soldiers.
She and fellow Myanmar Pressphoto Agency photographer Kaung Sett Lin were both seriously injured when authorities rammed a military vehicle into the anti-coup protest. Moh Moh Tun sustained head and leg injuries that required surgery, according to J Paing.
Moh Moh Tun was no longer in a wheelchair and was able to walk with crutches as of late 2022, but in February 2023 Insein Prison’s hospital determined that she required a second surgery on her leg, J Paing said. CPJ could not immediately confirm if she underwent that surgery.
CPJ emailed Myanmar’s Ministry of Information for comment on Moh Moh Tun’s conviction, health, and treatment in detention, but did not receive any response. Myanmar was the world’s third-worst jailer of journalists, with at least 42 journalists behind bars, including Moh Moh Tun, at the time of CPJ’s December 1, 2022, prison census.
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