Myanmar: Fünf Journalisten zu zehn Jahren Haft verurteilt

Wie der Internationale PEN vor einigen Tagen berichtete, wurden fünf Journalisten der Wochenzeitung “Unity Journal” (Lu Maw Naing, Yarzar Oo, Paing Thet Kyaw, Sithu Soe und Tint San) am 10. Juli 2014 zu jeweils 10 Jahren Gefängnis mit Zwangsarbeit verurteilt. Grund für die Verurteilung war ein Bericht über eine angeblich geheime Chemiewaffenfabrik, der im Januar in der Zeitung veröffentlicht worden war.

Quelle: PEN International

Quelle: PEN International

50 andere Journalisten, die am 12. Juli friedlich gegen die Verurteilung protestierten, müssen ebenso Strafen befürchten.

Der PEN fordert die sofortige und bedingungslose Freilassung der fünf Journalisten und verlangt, dass die Ermittlungen gegen andere Journalisten eingestellt werden.

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Bitte informieren Sie uns über ihr Handeln und die Antworten, die Sie darauf bekommen.

Senden Sie Beschwerde-Briefe:

  • Rufen Sie zur sofortigen und bedingungslosen Freilassung der Journalisten  Lu Maw Naing, Yarzar Oo, Paing Thet Kyaw, Sithu Soe und Tint San auf, die einzig wegen der professionellen Ausübung ihres Berufs inhaftiert wurden;
  • Lassen Sie sich bestätigen, dass die fünf Männer vor Folter und anderen Misshandlungen geschützt werden, sie in keine entlegenen Gefängnisse verlagert werden, so dass ein regelmäßiger Kontakt zu ihren Familien und Anwälten ihrer Wahl gewährleistet wird und sie jede nötige medizinische Behandlung erhalten;
  • Rufen Sie zur sofortigen und bedingungslosen Freilassung aller anderen politischen Gefangenen in Myanmar auf sowie zur Einstellung der Ermittlungen gegen Personen, die einzig für die friedliche Ausübung ihres Rechts auf Meinungsfreiheit verhaftet werden.
  • Fordern Sie Gesetze, die dazu zwingen, unrechtmäßige Einschränkungen in Bezug auf das Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit außer Kraft zu setzen oder abzuändern. (sf/cm)

Schreiben Sie an:

S.E. den Botschafter der Republik der Union Myanmar
Herrn Soe Nwe
Botschaft der Republik der Union Myanmar
Thielallee 19
14195 Berlin-Dahlem

Hintergrund zum Fall (in englischer Sprache)

On 10 July 2014 a court in Pakkoku, Magway Region, sentenced U Tin San, the chief executive officer of the weekly Unity journal, and journalists U Ya Zar Oo, U Paing Thet Kyaw, U Sithu Soe and U Lu Maw Naing to 10 years in jail with hard labour. They had been arrested on 31 January and 1 February 2014 after Unity published an article on 25 January about an alleged secret chemical weapons factory in Pauk Township, Pakokku District known as Defence Product Factory No. 24. According to state media, the five were charged with “disclosing State secrets, trespassing on the restricted area of the factory, taking photographs and the act of abetting” under Article 3(1) A/9 of Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. Their trial began on 12 February 2014, and they were convicted on 30 June 2014 for breaching the 1923 Official Secrets Act, trespassing in a restricted area and taking photos of a Defence Ministry facility without permission. On 26 June 2014 the publication suspended operations due to financial problems. All five are reportedly planning to lodge an appeal against their conviction and sentence.

On 12 July 2014, 50 reporters, some with tape over their mouths, held a sit-down protest outside the Myanmar Peace Center in Yangon while President U Thein Sein was inside attending a cultural event. Police have opened cases against those involved in the sit-down protest under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Act. Convictions under Section 18 carry a maximum penalty of one year’s imprisonment and a fine of K30,000 (about US$31).

The five are currently detained at the Pakokku prison, however there are concerns they may be transferred to remote prisons, far away from their family members. The transfer of prisoners of conscience to remote prisons was a hallmark of the previous military government. Conditions of detention in Myanmar are poor, and all are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment and a lack of access to adequate medical treatment.

PEN International’s campaigning for freedom of expression in Myanmar

Myanmar has a been a key country for PEN International’s free expression campaigning for over 20 years, when many of the leading figures and founding members of PEN Myanmar such as such as Zarganar, Ma Thida and Nay Phone Latt  were first imprisoned. In July 2013, a PEN International Publishers Circle delegation went to Myanmar, and met with 20 writers who became the founding member of the PEN Centre. In September 2013, at the 79th International Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland, PEN Myanmar was formally launched, after a half century of repressive military rule in the country. Blogger Nay Phone Latt’s speech to the Assembly of Delegates tells the story of this journey. PEN Myanmar has openly dedicated itself to strengthening freedom of expression and legal mechanisms in Myanmar, in addition to working on the pragmatic problems of publication and support of emerging writers.

Although there have been significant improvements to the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly situations in the country since 2010, the obstacles are huge and the centre is already facing freedom of expression challenges.

PEN International remains highly concerned about the following issues:

  • New legislation is weak. Draft bills on press require licences to speak and the ‘right to protest law’ requires “permission” and can be used to arrest gatherings of more than two people. Of particular concern is the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law bill, passed by Myanmar’s lower house of parliament on 4 July 2013, and which is said to fall far below international standards.
  • National security provisions remain in place, including the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, the 2000 Internet Act, and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Act
  • Almost all the political prisoners released since 2011 have only had their sentences suspended under Burma penal code 401, rather than having their sentences revoked.
  • Political prisoners were released with no programme of restorative justice.
  • The democratisation process and national dialogue excludes ethnic diversity. Ethnic conflict is seriously threatening the reform and national reconciliation process, and human rights violations are taking place in states with large minority populations on a large scale.
  • The regulations governing the Press Council, founded in October 2012, fall far short of international standards to guarantee freedom of the press.
  • Broadcasters are still government controlled
  • There is an atmosphere of lawsuits – in particular a growing number of defamation cases against journalists.
  • Corruption levels are among worst in world.
  • There has been no constitutional change to reduce the power of the military in the administration of the country.