Filmmaker and Journalist Shin Daewe Faces Life Sentence in Myanmar Crackdown

Опубликовано: 18 Январь 2024

Protest in Myanmar against Military Coup 14-Feb-2021 20Protesters in Myanmar against the Military Coup of 2021. (Photo: MgHla (aka) Htin Linn Aye, Wikimedia, License)

Myanmar authorities have sentenced filmmaker and journalist Shin Daewe to life imprisonment, marking the harshest sentence given to a journalist in Myanmar since the military junta took power in 2021, as reported by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Friday.

Shin Daewe, is a 50-year-old award-winning journalist and filmmaker focusing on social and political issues in Myanmar.

According to Radio Free Asia, Daewe was arrested on Oct. 15 in Yangon's North Okkalapa township while collecting a video drone purchased online for use in a documentary. Possession of drones is illegal in Myanmar.

Daewe’s husband told Radio Free Asia that his wife was taken away to an unknown location for two weeks before being transferred to Insein Prison and charged under Myanmar's Counterterrorism Law of 2014, a law that the junta has transformed into a suppressive instrument. The accusations centered on "financing and abetting terrorism."

“When she returned, I didn't get access to her. But I heard that she had injured her head,” he said. “She had stitches on her head and welts on her arms”, indicating that Daewe might have been beaten during her questioning by the police.

Cédric Alviani, RSF Asia-Pacific Bureau director, denounced the court action. "By sentencing a documentary film director to life in prison under the pretext of terrorism, the military junta shows the extent of its arbitrariness and ruthlessness,” he said. “We urge the international community to intensify its pressure on the Myanmar regime for her release, as well as on behalf of the 64 other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in the country.”

RSF explained that following the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021, the junta launched a campaign of terror against journalists, swiftly issuing a blacklist of prohibited media outlets. Since then, the army has been responsible for the deaths of four journalists: Pu Tuidim, the founder of Khonumthung news agency; Sai Win Aung, the editor of the Federal News Journal; and freelance photojournalists Soe Naing and Aye Kaw.

On Sept. 6, 2023, a military tribunal found Sai Zaw Thaike, a journalist from the independent news service Myanmar Now, guilty of multiple charges, including sedition, resulting in a 20-year prison sentence. The 40-year-old journalist had been arrested by military authorities in Rakhine State on May 26 while reporting on the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha, as reported by Human Rights Watch.

Much like Shin Daewe, Sai Zaw Thaike was confined to Insein prison and deprived of legal representation, a violation of international due process standards. Both journalists were sentenced by military tribunals conducted behind closed doors.