US concern voiced over ‘Facebook arrests’
US State Department spokesman John Kirby has expressed concern over the arrest of two Myanmar nationals over separate incidents involving the posting of material on Facebook that the authorities have taken exception to.
Speaking during the October 15 Daily Press Briefing in Washington DC, Mr Kirby expressed concern over the arrest and charging of Patrick Khum Jaa Lee, the spouse of International Women of Courage Award recipient May Sabe Phyu under the 2013 telecommunications law, reportedly in response to a Facebook post.
Peace activist Patrick Kum Jaa Lee was arrested on Wednesday in Yangon for a Facebook post showing someone stepping on a photo of Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Mr Kirby also express concern about charges filed against Chaw Sandi Tun under the electronic transactions law, also reportedly in response to a Facebook post.
Chaw Sandi Tun was arrested for a Facebook post pointing out that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was wearing clothes of a color similar to those of the army, and in particular General Min Aung Hlaing.
The US spokeman said such laws restrict freedom of expression and directly contradict democratic principles and the government’s own stated commitment to political reform and respect of human rights.
He called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately release the two individuals.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby. Photo: US government