Myanmar Press Photo Agency photographer Kaung Sett Lin is being held in pretrial detention for criminal incitement, an anti-state charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
He was arrested on December 5, 2021, while covering an anti-coup protest on Phap Pingyi Road in the Kyimindaing Township of Yangon, according to news reports.
Kaung Sett Lin and fellow Myanmar Pressphoto Agency camera operator Hmu Yadanar Moh Moh Tun were both seriously injured when authorities rammed a military vehicle into the anti-coup protest, the reports said.
Both reporters were taken to Yangon’s Military Hospital No. 2 for treatment. Myo Myint, Kaung Sett Lin’s father, said that his son suffered a broken back and leg as well as head and eye injuries, according to a U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia report. At least five protesters were shot and killed during the military’s suppression of the protest, according to multiple news reports.
Kaung Sett Lin has been charged under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to J Paing, Myanmar Pressphoto Agency’s chief editor, who communicated with CPJ via email. Convictions under the provision allow for maximum three-year prison sentences.
Kaung Sett Lin’s trial was ongoing in late 2022, J Paing said. He said Kaung Sett Lin is still in pain and is not receiving proper medical treatment for his spine and other injuries. He was being held at Yangon’s Insein Prison in late November 2022, J Paing said.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment sent in late 2022 on Kaung Sett Lin’s injuries, legal status and treatment in detention.