Myanmar Press Photo Agency camera operator Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun is being held in pretrial detention for terrorism and criminal incitement, the latter an anti-state charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
She was arrested on December 5, 2021, while covering an anti-coup protest on Phap Pingyi Road in the Kyimindaing Township of Yangon.
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.
Both reporters were taken to Yangon’s Military Hospital No. 2 for treatment. Moh Moh Tun sustained a serious head injury that required surgery and was unconscious for over a day after being injured in the military’s assault on the protest, The Irrawaddy reported.
Several protesters were shot and killed during the military’s suppression of the protest, according to local news reports. Moh Moh Tun was moved from Yangon’s Military Hospital No. 2 to Yangon’s Insein Prison on May 11, 2022, according to J Paing, Myanmar Pressphoto Agency’s chief editor, who communicated with CPJ via email.
J Paing told CPJ that Moh Moh Tun was initially charged under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news. Convictions under the provision allow for maximum three-year prison sentences.
In late September 2022, she was also charged under Article 50(j) of the Counter Terrorism Law, a criminal provision that outlines penalties for terror financing that carries maximum life in prison sentences.
Moh Moh Tun’s trial was ongoing in late 2022. J Paing said her health was improving, that she was no longer in a wheel chair, was able to walk with crutches as of late September, and was being held at Yangon’s Insein Prison in late November 2022.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment sent in late 2022 on Moh Moh Tun’s injuries, legal status and treatment in detention.