Wed, 04 Oct 2023

Myanmar junta expands martial law in strongholds of resistance

Khalid Umar Malik
07 Feb 2023, 20:04 GMT+10

YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar's military has imposed martial law in anti-coup strongholds, subjecting people accused of everything from treason to "spreading false news" to military tribunals.

According to the local press, no appeals will be allowed in the 37 townships affected by the new measures announced in state-controlled media on Friday, except in cases where the death penalty has been imposed and which must be approved by military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

The announcement indicates that the military is looking for new ways to crush resistance in areas where people took up arms two years ago to oppose its power grab.

Extending martial law was necessary "to exercise more effective undertakings for ensuring security, the rule of law, and local peace and tranquillity," according to the state-run newspaper.

Military tribunals will hear criminal cases ranging from high treason to a ban on spreading false news, which the army has already used to imprison dozens of journalists.

The 37 townships affected by martial law are spread across eight states and regions, including Sagaing, Chin, Magway, Bago, Mon, Karen, Taninthayi, and Kayah.

In the newly declared martial law areas, the military has been engaged in regular clashes with the anti-coup People's Defence Force, the armed wing of the opposition's underground National Unity Government.

The military announced on Wednesday that it had extended the state of emergency declared during the coup, which is likely to delay a general election scheduled for August.

The military stated that the emergency declaration needed to be extended for six months because the country was in an abnormal state, and more time was required to prepare for peaceful and stable elections.

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