Myanmar journalist Khaing Myint Tun, also known as Shwe Lin Thit, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for terrorism, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
Khaing Myint Tun, a contributor to the local independent Golden Triangle Times based in Shan State, was arrested on July 11, 2021, after returning from an anti-military, ethnic armed organization-controlled area, according to a Mekong News report.
The journalist’s arrest 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.
On April 5, 2022, a Taunggyi court convicted and sentenced him to 10 years in prison under Section 51(c) of the Counter Terrorism Law, according to multiple news reports and a database compiled by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.
The reports did not indicate what evidence was cited by judges for handing down his harsh conviction and sentencing.
An anonymous source quoted by Mekong News said that Khaing Myint Tun was beaten by police and inmates during interrogations, causing him to lose hearing in one of his ears. His family was not aware of his whereabouts until they learned of his conviction, the source in the Mekong News report said.
Khaing Myint Tun was initially detained at Taung Lay Lone Prison in Shan State, according to a family member who communicated with CPJ through an intermediary via messaging app in October 2023. He was moved to Oboe Prison in Mandalay Division during the first week of July 2023, making it more difficult for his family to visit. He continued to suffer from his leg and ear injuries through the year, the family member said.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment on Khaing Myint Tun’s conviction, sentencing, detention and abuse allegations.