Burma

Myanmar Coup Chief Amends Counterterrorism Law

By The Irrawaddy 3 August 2021

Myanmar’s coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing signed an amendment to the Counterterrorism Law on Monday, introducing harsher penalties for supporting anti-regime activities.

Under the amendment, the jail term is increased from three to seven years for “acts of exhortation, persuasion, propaganda and recruitment of any person to participate in any terrorist group or activities of terrorism”.

Legal analysts said the amendment is a threat to media reports in support of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) because it allows the military junta to prosecute outlets under the false pretext of propaganda.

They also said the different nature of the Counterterrorism Law makes it harder for the accused to prove innocence. In other criminal cases, the prosecution is responsible to prove the defendant guilty. But under the Counterterrorism Law, the accused has to prove their innocence.

In May, the military regime branded the NUG, its parliamentary committee and their offshoot civilian defense forces as “terrorist groups” for alleged acts of incitement against the junta.

The NUG designated the military and its affiliated organizations as terrorist groups on June 7 for perpetrating acts of terrorism towards innocent civilians, creating public fear for political motives to control the country.

A total of 945 people, including children, were killed between February and August 2 by the regime with 5,474 people under detention and arrest warrants issued for 1,964 people, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.


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