YANGON, Feb 3, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Myanmar's junta has introduced tough new
measures in resistance strongholds under which people accused of treason and
"spreading false news" will be tried by a military court, state media said
In the 37 townships affected by the measures, no appeals will be allowed for
convictions handed down by military tribunals, with the exception of the
death penalty, which must be approved by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing,
according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since a 2021 coup ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's
government, and a subsequent crackdown on dissent has sparked fighting across
swathes of the nation.
The latest announcement signals the junta is looking for new ways to stamp
out resistance in areas where anti-coup fighters are active.
The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said the expansion was done "to
exercise more effective undertakings for ensuring security, the rule of law
and local peace and tranquillity".
Under the new measures, military tribunals will hear criminal cases ranging
from high treason to a ban on "spreading false news" which the army has used
to jail dozens of journalists.
The 37 townships lie across eight states and regions -- Sagaing, Chin,
Magway, Bago, Mon, Karen, Taninthayi, and Kayah.
Junta troops have clashed regularly with anti-coup "People's Defence Forces"
in those areas, as well as established ethnic rebel groups.
At least another 11 townships -- six in commercial hub Yangon and five in
second city Mandalay -- were already under similar laws.
The decision came a day after state media announced a six-month extension to
a state of emergency, delaying elections the junta had pledged to hold by
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing acknowledged that more than a third of the
country's townships are not under full military control, in comments reported
by state media on Wednesday.
More than 2,900 people have been killed in the military's crackdown on
dissent and over 17,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.