Zaw Linn Htut (Phoe Thar)

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Myanmar freelance journalist Zaw Linn Htut is serving a three-year prison sentence 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 March 31, 2022, a court inside Yangon’s Insein 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 and databases compiled by the rights group Assistance Association of Political Prisoners and the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed. 

Zaw Linn Htut, a freelance reporter also known as Phoe Thar, was arrested on December 19, 2021, in Yangon’s Thingangyun Township along with the chair of the Eastern Yangon University Students’ Union, Su Yee Lin, who was also sentenced to three years under Article 505(a), according to the Myanmar Now report. 

Zaw Linn Htut’s mother was quoted in a local report saying he was arrested while taking “news pictures” in Yangon and that she was concerned about his health in detention. An anonymous lawyer quoted in the Myanmar Now report said he would have two months subtracted from his sentence for time served. 

Separately, Zaw Lin Htut was jailed in 2019 for mocking the military as part of a satirical troupe called the Peacock Generation, the Myanmar Now report said. He was released the following year, the report said. 

Zaw Linn Htut was being held in Yangon’s Insein Prison in late September, according to the association’s data. Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Ko Zaw Linn Htut’s conviction, sentencing and detention in late 2022.