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In Myanmar, a Fb put up deemed inflammatory led to an ex-minister’s arrest

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BANGKOK — A former high-profile Myanmar military officer who had served as info minister and presidential spokesperson in a earlier military-backed authorities has been arrested and charged with spreading false or inflammatory information, an announcement from the present army authorities stated Sunday.

In an announcement despatched to journalists, the army’s info workplace stated 64-year {old} Ye Htut, a retired lieutenant colonel, was arrested for violating Part 505(A) of the penal code, a provision referred to as “incitement,” for writing and spreading false information on his Facebook social media account.

His arrest got here the identical month a Myanmar army tribunal sentenced two high-ranking generals to life imprisonment after they have been discovered responsible of excessive treason, accepting bribes, unlawful possession of overseas foreign money and violating army self-discipline.

These sentences gave the impression to be the harshest to this point for the senior members of the army’s administrative our bodies that have been arrange after the military seized energy from the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi greater than 2 1/2 years in the past. The nation has been in turmoil since then, with widespread armed resistance to army rule, which the military has been unable to quash regardless of its superiority in weapons and manpower.

Myanmar’s army management is thought for being close-knit and secretive, and this month’s arrests are a uncommon public indication that there could also be splits inside its ranks.

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Ye Htut was the spokesperson from 2013 to 2016 for President Thein Sein in a military-backed authorities and in addition info minister from 2014-2016.

The offense he’s charged with makes it against the law to publish or flow into feedback that trigger the general public to hate the federal government and the army, a definition that permits prosecution of anybody the authorities deem to have made offending remarks. It’s is punishable by as much as three years in jail.

The cost is steadily used towards journalists and activists who displease the army, with the variety of prosecutions hovering after the military’s 2021 takeover.

Information of Myanmar, an internet media outlet sympathetic to the army, reported on its Telegram social media channel that Ye Htut was arrested Saturday evening after a army officer from Yangon Regional Navy Command filed a cost towards him at a police station in Ahlone township in Yangon, the nation’s largest metropolis.

The report stated Ye Htut was taken to Insein jail in northern Yangon.

Information for Myanmar, an unbiased analysis group, stated in a report earlier this month that greater than 1,300 folks have been detained for criticizing the army regime and displaying help for opposition teams on social media between February final 12 months and September this 12 months.

After leaving authorities in 2016, Ye Htut took the function of a political observer and wrote books and posted articles on Fb. For a time, he was a visiting senior analysis fellow on the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a middle for Southeast Asia research in Singapore.

After the military’s 2021 takeover, he usually posted brief private vignettes and journey essays on Fb wherein he made allusions that have been typically acknowledged to be essential of Myanmar’s present army rulers.

Ye Htut’s arrest got here just a few days after pro-military Telegram accounts printed his tackle and urged the army to arrest him for revealing on his personal Fb web page the tackle of a retired army official.

Professional-military accounts on Telegram steadily denounce people they accuse of disloyalty to the federal government and sometimes reveal their addresses, a observe identified within the on-line world as “doxxing.”

In response to the Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group that displays arrests in Myanmar, about 4,160 folks have been killed by safety forces and 25,353 folks arrested for the reason that military takeover.

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