Myanmar woman jailed for six months for a Facebook post ridiculing the ruling Military Junta
Burmese activist Chaw Sandi Tun has been jailed for six months after she was charged for mocking the country’s army chief and the colour of a new uniform in a Facebook post.
Arrested in October this year for her Facebook post, Chaw was found guilty of insulting the army chief’s light green new uniform by comparing it with a longyi (sarong) worn by Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy party (NLD), Reuters reported on Monday.
“If you love mother that much, why don’t you wrap mother’s longyi on your head,” Chaw’s post read.
Chaw, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s election-winning NLD party, was was sentenced under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law that prohibits the use of the telecoms network to “extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence or intimidate”.
“My daughter was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at Ma U Bin township court this morning under Section 66(d) of the telecoms law. We will appeal as we are not satisfied,” her mother Ei San told the AFP news agency.
The maximum penalty she faced was three years in jail. Her lawyer confirmed the sentence but said his client denied making the post.
“She said her Facebook account had been hacked several times and that she didn’t post that post,” Chaw’s lawyer told reporters.
Chaw said earlier a doctored image of Aung Suu Kyi was shared on Facebook and the wife of the country’s information minister Ye Htut was one of the people who shared it.
“If they found me guilty, Ye Htut’s wife is also,” Chaw said in her defence.
In October, Patrick Khum Jaa Lee, a political activist, was also arrested for criticizing the army on Facebook.
Freelance photojournalist Aung Nay Myo was arrested in February for a Facebook post mocking President Thein Sein.
Myanmar was ruled by a military junta since the 1962 military takeover. In 2011, the military announced gradual political reforms to pave the way for a civil government following five decades of military rule. But, in recent months, critics have accused the military and government of returning to junta-era tactics, with arrests over social media posts.
On the other hand, there are signs of freedom such as the recent general elections, where the NLD won by a landslide last month and is expected to form a government early next year.