By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER
YANGON — Ko Michael Kyaw Myint was denied bail and remanded in custody this morning after being detained for sedition ahead of a planned protest against the Yangon Region government.
Police arrested Michael Kyaw Myint on Monday evening under section 505(b) of the Penal Code following a complaint from U Moe Hein, a director in the Yangon Region government.
Michael Kyaw Myint’s wife, Daw Aye Aye Thein, told Frontier that the police came for her husband while he was putting materials for the protest into his car in Bahan Township.
“He was planning to go in the car once he’d finished but the three police came and asked him to follow them to Tarmwe police station,” she said.
He appeared in Tarmwe Township Court this morning and was remanded until November 1. He faces a potential two-year prison term if convicted.
The arrest appears to stem from Facebook posts yesterday in which Michael Kyaw Myint apparently announced his intention to use the demonstration to “reveal the truth” about the regional government’s alleged corruption.
Michael Kyaw Myint shot to fame in June when he said at a press conference that an associate of chief minister U Phyo Min Thein had accepted money in exchange for facilitating a land deal. He went public with the accusation after the associate allegedly reneged on the agreement.
The government did not respond to the accusations. Michael Kyaw Myint was arrested and charged in three townships for defamation, staging an illegal protest and being a “habitual offender”. In Dagon Township, he was charged with online defamation under section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law on the basis of a complaint from Moe Hein.
On October 21, Michael Kyaw Myint notified the authorities that he planned to stage a peaceful procession outside City Hall, but they objected on security grounds. Instead, he was told he could protest at an area in Tarmwe Township known as “Hittaing” that is often used for demonstrations.
Aye Aye Thein said he was angry at the regional government because of a dispute over compensation. She said the regional authorities had recently proposed giving back the money Michael Kyaw Myint allegedly paid.
Moe Hein from the Yangon Region government was unavailable for comment.