Two social influencers jailed for anti-coup social media posts, singer Po Po and blogger Win Min Than were released from Insein Prison on Oct. 28. The two had received three-year sentences for violating Section 505 (a) of the penal code, for their participation with other celebrities in the “We Want Justice” three-finger salute campaign in February and March 2021 following the military coup that ousted the civilian National League for Democracy (NLD) government and saw State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other leaders detained. Win Min Than, a popular beauty and fashion icon in Burma, fled Yangon after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was detained in April 2021 at a hotel in Taunggyi, Shan State and sentenced to three years with hard labour at Insein Prison in Yangon. She also received a K10,000 fine for violating Section 17 (a) of the penal code. Burmese pop singer Po Po gained popularity online with her songs. She was arrested in April 2021 at her home in Yangon. Po Po was featured on DVB Youth Voice in 2014. Film director Mike Tee was also released from prison on Oct. 28.
The release of three Burmese celebrities comes days after many Kachin artists and performers were killed at the 62nd Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) ceremony in Hpakant Township. Hundreds of Burmese artists who made a stand against the 2021 military coup have been jailed. Some are in hiding as they could face criminal charges if caught by the junta. Burmese beauty queen Han Lay was granted asylum in Canada last September after the junta revoked her passport and left her stranded at Bangkok airport. Fearing a forced repatriation to Burma, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) stepped in and she was whisked away to Canada after a one-week ordeal. Burmese actors Lu Min, Pyay Ti Oo, Eaindra Kyaw Zin and Paing Takhon were released from prison earlier this year. But actor Ye Deight, film director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, singers Saw Phoe Kwar and Ito, writer Than Myint Aung, Maung Thar Cho, Htin Lin Oo and artist Htein Lin are still being held in inhumane conditions for committing no crime but for voicing their opposition to military rule in Burma.