Soe Yarzar Tun

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Myanmar freelance journalist Soe Yarzar Tun is being held in pretrial detention for terrorism, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021. 

In April 2022, a court in Yangon’s Insein Prison indicted Soe Yarzar Tun under Section 52(a) of the Counter Terrorism Law, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, according to multiple news reports quoting his family and lawyers. Hearings in his trial were ongoing in mid-September, according to a U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America report

On March 10, 2022, Soe Yarzar Tun was arrested in Bago City, just days after he escaped arrest by around 50 soldiers who raided a Buddhist monastery where he was staying, those reports said. 

He was held at the Phayar Lay Interrogation Center in Yangon’s Hlegu Township for four days before being transferred to the township’s police station, where he was held for 28 days. He is currently being held in Yangon’s Insein Prison, the news reports said.

Soe Yarzar Tun was arrested previously on February 28, 2021, while reporting on an anti-coup protest in Yangon, according to a database compiled by local rights group the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners. 

Then, he was held for over four months on accusations under Section 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to a database compiled by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed. 

He was released without charge in an amnesty of prisoners without charge on June 30, 2021, according to news reports and DJIM’s data. 

The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Soe Yarzar Tun’s legal status and detention in late 2022.