A former journalist from Mandalay who was arrested nearly two months ago has been charged with incitement for a Facebook post, according to lawyers familiar with his case.
Zaw Zaw, a photojournalist who quit his job with news outlet The Irrawaddy after last year’s coup, disappeared after he was taken into custody on April 9.
Last month, it was learned that he had been transferred to Mandalay’s Obo Prison after being held at the notorious Mandalay Palace interrogation centre for more than a month.
He was formally charged with incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code during a court appearance inside the prison on Wednesday, a lawyer told Myanmar Now.
“They couldn’t find any dirt on him even after interrogating him, so they just found one Facebook post and laid the charge against him based on that,” said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The content of the post had not been disclosed at the time of reporting.
Zaw Zaw attended his first court hearing through an online conferencing system on Monday, and the charge was filed at the prison court with him present two days later, according to lawyers.
His former employer, The Irrawaddy, has also been charged with incitement for its post-coup news coverage. Zaw Zaw resigned from his job shortly after the regime forced the outlet to close.
A number of journalists have been convicted on incitement charges. In January, a court in Sagaing Region handed two-year prison sentences to an editor and a reporter from the now defunct Zayar Times.
According to figures compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, there are a total of 10,962 political prisoners currently being held in regime custody, including at least 50 journalists.