1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Myanmar: Court extends journalist's detention – AP

Farah Bahgat
March 12, 2021

The Associated Press reporter was arrested while photographing anti-coup protests. He now faces charges punishable with up to three years in prison.

Journalist Thein Zaw.
Thein Zaw and five other journalists were charged with violating a public order lawImage: Thein Zaw family/AP/picture alliance

A court in Myanmar has extended the pre-trial detention period for a journalist with the Associated Press new agency  as he faces charges punishable with up to three years in prison, the AP reported. 

Myanmar authorities have held Thein Zaw and five other journalists since February 27. They were covering the anti-coup protests in Myanmar largest city Yangon, according to AP. 

The hearing on Friday reportedly came at the end of the journalist's initial remand period. 

Thein Zaw's lawyer, Tin Zar Oo, told AP that she might be allowed to apply for bail in the next hearing.

The five other reporters in the case had separate hearings on Friday, according to AP.

Neither Thein Zaw's family nor his lawyers have seen him since his arrest. The prison where he is held does not allow visitation due to coronavirus restrictions, his lawyer told AP. 

The six detained journalists were reportedly charged under a law against spreading false news, causing fear and agitating for a criminal offense against public employees.

International pressure on Myanmar's junta 

The European Union delegation to Myanmar called for the journalists' immediate release.

"Threats to media workers are threats to democracy," the delegation said on Twitter.

The EU threatened to impose sanctions on Myanmar's military generals, after the United States, Britain and Canada placed the junta leaders under restrictions.

South Korea also announced on Friday that it was halting arms exports and reconsidering aid to Myanmar as the situation escalates against anti-coup protesters. 

The United Nations investigator Thomas Andrews said the military may have committed crimes against humanity in its crackdown on demonstrations as he called for further sanctions.

UN Special Rapporteur Thomas Andrews: Myanmar controlled by a murderous, illegal regime

Military cracks down on press freedom

Security forces in Myanmar have targeted peaceful protesters and journalists since the military seized power on February 1. 

According to the watchdog Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), authorities arrested almost 1,800 people, including 34 journalists, that were linked to anti coup protests in Myanmar.

The military's internet censorship has also been "unprecedented," according to a report published by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) organization.