Data Matters No. 11
(This article is a translation of the original Burmese language version that ISP-Myanmar posted on its Facebook page on March 31, 2022.)
At least 13,001 people were arrested across the country between February 1, 2021, and March 28, 2022. Those arrested included members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the Union Election Commission, political activists, and anti-coup protesters. Approximately 3,040 have been released so far; 891 have been sentenced, but at least 9,070 are still being held without charge. A statement from the State Administration Council (SAC) claimed that over 11,000 people have been arrested, and stand accused of committing acts of violence. This figure was disclosed at a press conference on January 17, 2022, but no further figures have been disclosed at subsequent press conferences.
At least 4,700 people were arrested within three months in March, April, and May 2021 – a record number in such a short period of time – and a total of 11,289 people were detained from February to December 2021. In the first three months of 2022, there were no fewer than 1,700 arrests made between January and March. Since the coup, the SAC has granted six general amnesties, releasing an approximate total of 55,472 people. However, only 3,040 people (arrested for their affiliation with the anti-coup movement) have been released so far, according to data compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
At least 1,014 people have been sentenced, including sentences in absentia, based on data compiled from reports conducted by the AAPP and independent news outlets. Among them, six were sentenced to death and life imprisonment. There have been 58 further death sentences, 72 have been sentenced to life imprisonment, 755 incarcerated with other charges, 44 condemned to death in absentia with only an arrest warrant, along with 79 further sentences issued in absentia. 18 percent of those convicted were sentenced to death or life in prison.
∎ Why does it matter?
An analysis of the number of people arrested and imprisoned since the February coup shows the SAC’s use of the pillars of justice to suppress its opponents. Studying the civilian fatalities caused by the SAC’s violent suppression of protestors offers a way to assess whether or not Myanmar’s armed forces are violating human rights. Records of the deaths of protestors are useful for researchers, human rights activists, and political actors to examine the SAC’s human rights violations from a transitional justice perspective.
∎ Other relevant readings
Independent media and independent organizations such as the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) have monitored and collected detailed data on the number of protesters who were targeted, arrested, and killed during violent crackdowns in the aftermath of the February 1 military coup. They have also documented other issues such as the way SAC’s forces have responded to anti-coup protests, and evidence of human rights and dignity violations by government officials.