Myanmar rapper Byu Har was detained for criticising the junta's handling of nationwide power outages on social media.
Har uploaded a video to Facebook on the evening of Tuesday, 22 May, in which he allegedly criticised the electricity minister, referring to him as a "fool" and "incompetent".
The rapper went on to compare the current situation with that under the administration of Aung San Suu Kyi, saying "we had 24 hours of electricity, not only that, the electricity bill was [going] down." The 38-year-old was not shy to use heavy language directed at the Junta’s leaders and even dared them to arrest him by providing his home address.
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The junta showed up at his house on Wednesday, followed by a visit to his family home. The politically inclined rapper is the son of Naing Myanmar, one of the country’s beloved folk musicians; his song ‘The World Will Not End’ became an anthem for the 1988 uprising.
According to a relative of the rapper who spoke with Myanmar Now, Har is set to be imprisoned on June 10, and is currently being held at North Dagon Township Police Station, where he has been since his arrest at his home on May 23, as he faces charges of incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code, with a punishment of up to three years in prison if found guilty.
Myanmar's state-owned newspaper, Myanmar Alin, reported on Byu Har's arrest and stated "the anti-terrorism law and the electronic communication law can be used to prosecute those who distribute through social networks incitement to destroy government apparatus, propaganda, or threats."
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a total of 22,947 people have been arrested for opposing the regime, of whom 18,626 are still in detention, as of June 2, 2023.
[via BBC, VOANews]
Arun Ramanathan is Mixmag Asia’s Director. Follow him on Instagram.