Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun

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Myanmar Pressphoto Agency camera operator Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun is serving a 13-year sentence 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. 

Moh Moh Tun 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 journalists 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

The journalists’ arrests came in the wake of the military’s February 1, 2021, coup and subsequent protests. Since then, the military junta has engaged in an ongoing crackdown on Myanmar’s independent media, detaining and sentencing dozens of journalists.

In early December 2022, a court in Insein Prison in Yangon sentenced Moh Moh Tun to three years in prison under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to a Myanmar Pressphoto Agency report

On May 26, 2023, Yangon’s Thingangyun District Court convicted Moh Moh Tun and sentenced her to an additional 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 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 said her health was improving, that she was no longer in a wheelchair, was able to walk with crutches as of late September, and was being held at Yangon’s Insein Prison in mid-2023, according to J Paing, who communicated with CPJ by email. In February 2023, doctors determined she required a second surgery on her leg, J Paing said. CPJ could not confirm if she had had the procedure in late year. 

The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment on Moh Moh Tun’s convictions, legal status, injuries, and treatment in detention.