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Myanmar junta arrests 50 social media users for ‘anti-regime’ posts

Myanmar’s junta has arrested and prosecuted 50 people in the past seven days for allegedly posting anti-regime content on social media platforms, according to news releases by the military regime.

The week-long crackdown began on June 14, according to junta announcements Tuesday and Wednesday, which said people had been prosecuted under anti terrorism laws for comments they made on Facebook, Telegram and TikTok.

The arrests culminated in the detention of 30 people on Wednesday.

Among those arrested, 12 were from Yangon region, with others from Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions, Shan and Kayin states.

One Yangon city resident described the arrests as arbitrary.

“The junta’s statements are just propaganda,” said the man who declined to be named for safety reasons. “They impose the sentences they like.”

According to junta-controlled newspapers, those arrested will be prosecuted under Section 52 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Act – which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

They also face prosecution under Section 124 (a) of the Penal Code – which carries a sentence of up to seven years for sedition – Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code – which carries a maximum three-year term for high treason – and Section 33 (a) of the Electronic Transactions Act – which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for using technology for acts detrimental to the security of the state.

According to figures exclusively compiled by RFA and based on junta statements, at least 1,050 people who posted or reshared posts deemed to be anti-regime were arrested between February 2022 and April 2023.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.