søndag 14. mars 2021

Myanmar Begins Trials for Journalists as Protesters Defy, Evade Crackdown by Troops

The first group of six out of the nearly 40 media workers detained covering protests against Myanmar’s ruling junta appeared in video conference trials Friday, while protesters in major cities defied a tightening crackdown that has seen 73 people killed so far, lawyers and witnesses said.

Of the 37 journalists detained during nearly six weeks of anti-junta protests in the wake of the Feb. 1 coup, 22 have been released. Six of the 15 still in custody appeared in several township court video trials Friday to face charges under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code, for defamation and incitement for their reporting on the anti-military protests, lawyers said.

Those who appeared on Friday were Kay Zun Nway from Myanmar Now, Thein Zaw from the Associated Press, Ye Myo Khant from Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, Aung Ye Ko from 7Day News, freelance reporters Banyar Oo and Thint Myat Zaw, and Hein Pyae Zaw of Zeegwet Journal. All had their pre-trial extension period extended until trials at the end of this month, lawyers said. “After the initial hearing, the two accused were allowed to have a video-chat with a member of their families online,” said Myint Aung, a High Court lawyer who is defending Kay Zun Nway and Aung Ye Ko.