Myanmar journalist Ma Htet Htet was arrested by police in the commercial capital of Yangon on September 11, 2021, according to news reports. She is being held in pretrial detention in Yangon on criminal incitement charges.
Ma Htet Htet, an editor at the local Thingangyun Post news site, faces charges under Article 505(a) of the penal code, according to news reports. The broad provision criminalizes “any attempt to cause fear, spread false news or agitate directly or indirectly a criminal offense against a government employee” or that “causes their hatred, disobedience, or disloyalty toward the military and the government.” Convictions under the provision allow for a maximum three-year prison sentence.
On May 9, 2022, her lawyer, who requested anonymity due to fears of reprisal, was quoted in a Coconuts Yangon report saying the prosecutor in her case had failed to attend several scheduled hearings, resulting in delays in her trial. The lawyer said Ma Ma Htet’s family members had also been arrested and charged.
Ma Htet Htet’s trial was ongoing in late 2022, according to the Detained Journalists in Myanmar private Facebook group’s database.
Her arrest came in the wake of the military’s February 1, 2021, democracy-suspending coup and subsequent protests. The military junta cracked down on Myanmar’s independent media, detaining dozens of journalists, according to those sources and CPJ research.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request sent in late 2022 for comment on Ma Htet Htet’s legal status and her detention.