Myanmar journalist Sai Ko Ko Tun is serving a two-year prison sentence with hard labor for criminal incitement, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
On January 28, 2022, a court inside Dawei Prison convicted and sentenced him under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to a Myanmar Now report.
The court ruled against Sai Ko Ko Tun for his news coverage of anti-coup protests staged in Dawei, the reports said. He did not have a lawyer present nor were family members allowed into the court when the verdict was handed down, Myanmar Now reported.
Sai Ko Ko Tun was arrested on November 30, 2021, by around 30 military officials at his home in Dawei’s Bon Maw ward, Myanmar Now reported. The officials also detained his father and sister, who were both released several days later, the report said.
Sai Ko Ko Tun previously reported for the local 7Day News and filed reports to Myanmar Now before his arrest, those reports said. The military banned both 7Day News and Myanmar Now soon after staging the February 1, 2021, coup.
He was being held in Dawei Prison in late 2022, according to a database compiled by the rights group Assistance Association of Political Prisoners. Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Sai Ko Ko Tun’s conviction, sentencing and situation in detention in late 2022.
Sai Ko Ko Tun was not included on the 2021 census because CPJ was not aware of his case at the time.