*DVB once again calls for the immediate release of its reporter, Aung San Lin, arrested by the Burmese military and held without charge in a Sagaing Region interrogation center since Dec. 12.*
Aung San Lin, a DVB reporter whose whereabouts had been unknown since he was arrested by security forces in Sagaing Region’s Wetlet township over a month ago, yesterday made contact with family members.
The journalist has been charged under Sec. 505(a) —a draconian new provision added to Burma’s penal code after the coup which criminalizes comments that “cause fear,” spread “false news, [or] agitates directly or indirectly a criminal offense against a Government employee”.
“The prison authority informed us that he was transferred to Shwebo Prison today, and that we can send him clothing,” Aung San Lin’s lawyer, Dr Pho Phyu, said.
A provisional trial date has been set for Jan. 26, when Aung San Lin’s case will be heard by the junta’s Shwebo Special Prison Court.
The journalist is currently being detained in a private cell and is in good health, according to prison authorities.
Aung San Lin, who is 40 years old, was arrested on Dec. 12 after 20 soldiers raided his home in Pin Zin village, Wetlet township, Sagaing Region. He has since been detained illegally and without a warrant,” his wife told DVB.
“Since [Aung San Lin’s] arrest, I have been following the police, the army, and the courts in Wetlet and Shwebo until today. I had heard rumors that he was dead, therefore I was worried about him,” she said.
Our reporters had been informed that Aung San Lin was taken to a military interrogation center the day after his arrest, yet we currently have no further information concerning his treatment over the past month.
Aung San Lin’s lawyer said that the reporter’s arrest had been reported local authorities, regional military authorities, and to relevant courts, but all queries had been dismissed up until yesterday’s information was released.
“When we asked the court, they said that no charges had been filed. Despite this, when we filed an application to the court to question his whereabouts, the court didn’t accept it,” she said.
According to DVB statistics, more that 120 media workers have been arrested since the Feb. 1 military coup. However, in a worrying development, three journalists have been killed by the Burmese military in little over one month.
On Jan. 9, the body of Pu Tuidim, founder and editor of Chin news outlet, the Khonumthung Media Group was discovered after he had been abducted by troops in Matupi and used as part of a human shield.
The killing of Pu Tuidim was preceded by the murder in interrogation of photographer Soe Naing — who had been arrested for taking photos of a deserted Yangon during the country’s “Silent Strike” marking International Human Rights Day — and the death of Federal News Journal reporter, Sai Win Aung, during a military airstrike on Kayin State’s Lay Kay Kaw peace village.
The story on DVB Burmese: http://burmese.dvb.no/archives/511074