Several residents of Mindat Town in Chin State, Myanmar, were reported to have been jailed under the Anti-Terrorism Law for allegedly having photos of their damaged properties on their phones at a time when checked and questioned by the military junta on October 5.
The detainees were arrested under Section 52 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Law due to keeping pictures of their destroyed homes on their cell phones, and immediately sent to Pakokku Prison, according to locals.
It is learnt that most of them were not arrested on suspicion of incursion, but suspicion laid upon them after checking their phones and finding some photos of their houses which were damaged by the military’s artillery shelling.
Interrogated by the junta’s soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (274), the locals were immediately taken to Pakokku Prison without laying charges.
“One of my friends who were arrested recorded the damage of his neighbouring house on his phone while riding a tricycle – the damage caused by the military’s artillery shells. And he was sentenced to seven years in prison and sent to Pakokku Prison. Another man was sentenced to seven years in prison for finding a photo of a gun on his phone,” said a resident of Mindat.
A local said that the detainees were taken to LID 274 currently based in Mindat Township. “They were beaten and tortured. My friend is deaf, and he was jailed for taking pictures of his house’s damage and posting it on Facebook,” he added.
The infamous Section 52 (A) is an anti-terrorism law that provides a minimum sentence of three years to a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine if convicted but was amended on 01 August, after a military coup.