Myat Thu Tan

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Myat Thu Tan, a contributor to the local news website Western News and correspondent for several independent Myanmar news outlets, was shot and killed on January 31, 2024, while in military custody in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, according to news reports and Western News editor-in-chief Wunna Khwar Nyo, who spoke with CPJ.

The journalist’s body was found buried in a bomb shelter, with the bodies of six other political detainees, in the Light Infantry Battalion 378’s camp after it was overrun on February 5 by the insurgent Arakan Army, which is fighting military forces in the area, those sources said. They added that the bodies, including Myat Thu Tan’s, showed signs of torture.

Myat Thu Tan, also known as Phoe Thiha, was arrested at his home in Mrauk-U on September 22, 2022, and held in pre-trial detention under Section 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, for critical posts he made on his Facebook page, according to The Irrawaddy and Wunna Khwar Nyo.

Myat Thu Tan was denied family visits during his detention at Mrauk-U Prison and had not been tried or convicted at the time of his death, Wunna Khwar Nyo told CPJ. The journalist was transferred with the other detainees to the Light Infantry Battalion 378 camp before they were killed, Wunna Khwar Nyo said.

CPJ emailed Myanmar’s Ministry of Information for comment but did not immediately receive any response.