Police officer arrested for alleged social media post insulting junta chief

A junta police officer from Yangon was arrested and imprisoned for sharing an alleged Facebook post of a photo of people stepping on images of military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Police 2nd Lt Tin Aung Oak Soe from the Mayangone Central Police Station had been detained in junta custody since May and was sent to Insein Prison on June 8, according to sources close to the case. 

Tin Aung Oak Soe was reportedly targeted after a pro-junta entity calling themselves Han Nyein Oo exposed an alternative Facebook account allegedly belonging to the police officer and in which derogatory posts about Min Aung Hlaing had been shared. 

Han Nyein Oo claimed to have been tipped off about Tin Aung Oak Soe’s social media activity by an informant inside the police force.

A source within the police confirmed the officer’s arrest and criminal investigation to Myanmar Now, and said he had been charged with incitement, which carries a three-year prison sentence.

“He posted statuses regarding the revolution and a picture of Min Aung Hlaing’s photos being stepped on. That’s why he was arrested and was charged with Section 505a [of the Penal Code],” the individual explained. 

Tin Aung Oak Soe’s first court hearing was held in Insein Prison’s closed court on Thursday, but no information had been released from the session at the time of reporting. 

The source familiar with the case added that the junta authorities would also likely charge the officer with violating the police code of conduct, but the details of the section he had allegedly breached were not known at the time of reporting.

“He will be immediately sentenced to three years in prison according to the disciplinary code,” he said. 

The source noted that the conviction would be an addition to the expected incitement sentence, bringing Tin Aung Oak Soe’s total prison term to six years.

While the police have carried out lethal repression of protests and anti-dictatorship activities on behalf of the junta since the February 2021 military coup, as of April, more than 2,900 officers in the force had gone on strike against the regime in accordance with the Civil Disobedience Movement, according to the civilian National Unity Government. 

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