Hip-hop artist Byu Har will be sent to Yangon’s Insein Prison next month for criticising Myanmar’s junta on social media, according to a relative.
The 38-year-old rapper, who was arrested on May 23 for complaining about frequent power outages in the country since the regime seized power more than two years ago, will be transferred to the prison on June 10, the relative said.
He is currently being held at the North Dagon Township Police Station, where he has been since his arrest at his home in the township’s Ward 48 more than a week ago.
He was remanded there on May 29 on charges of incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code. He faces up to three years in prison if found guilty.
The relative told Myanmar Now that Byu Har is in good health, contrary to claims made on a pro-junta social media account that he had died while undergoing interrogation.
“He no longer has the injuries that he had in the photo of his arrest that was posted online. He’s in good health and is only facing one Section 505a charge. That’s all we know for now,” said the relative, who did not want to be identified by name.
The propaganda page that claimed Byu Har was dead had also called for his arrest after he posted his criticism of the regime online.
He also faced similar calls in April, when junta backers urged the regime to arrest him for saying on Facebook that he would not be performing during the annual Thingyan water festival, which has been widely boycotted since the military takeover in February 2021.
On the evening of May 29, regime forces also raided the home of Byu Har’s father, songwriter Naing Myanmar. After failing to find him, they detained his wife at the local police station, but released her later that night, sources said.
Naing Myanmar is best known for his pro-democracy anthem “Kabar Ma Kyay Bu,” written during the 1988 uprising against military rule. Based on the melody of “Dust in the Wind,” by American rock band Kansas, it was widely sung at anti-coup protests held two years ago.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a total of 22,737 people have been arrested for opposing the regime, of whom 18,417 are still in detention.