NLD official’s defamation charge an affront to democracy: Nyo Nyo Thin

By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON — Former independent MP Daw Nyo Nyo Thin has lambasted the ongoing defamation case against a senior National League for Democracy official, telling reporters outside Kamaryut Township court Friday that his trial was a threat to Myanmar’s fragile democratic transition.                        

U Myo Yan Naung Thein, the secretary of the NLD’s Central Committee for Research and Strategy Studies, has been detained under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law since October. Friday marked his 21st court appearance on the charge.

He was charged using a Facebook post to call on Myanmar Armed Forces chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing to resign in the wake of last October’s insurgent attack on police posts in Rakhine State.

“As we build a democracy in our country, criticism should be accepted as a positive contribution,” Nyo Nyo Thin, a former lawmaker in the Yangon Region Hluttaw, said after Friday’s hearing.

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She added lawsuits such as the one brought against Myo Yan Naung Thein would hinder the country’s political transition if authorities continued to put young and talented political leaders behind bars.

“Going forward as a democracy, we have to recognise the voice of public based on the principle of freedom of speech,” she said, adding that the prosecution ran counter to the military’s promise to work constructively with the NLD.

U Nyan Win, a member of the NLD’s central executive committee who was also present on Friday, said Myo Yan Naung Thein did not intend to defame the military chief but was instead offering constructive criticism of his performance.

“There is no-one available to replace his position in the NLD and it is not helping either the NLD or the country,” he told reporters.

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