Veteran activist arrested for speaking out against military


YANGON — Veteran activist and former political prisoner U Htin Kyaw faces the possibility of another jail term after being arrested on October 26 for criticising the military in comments made outside a Yangon court earlier this month.

Htin Kyaw, 53, who has spent years in jail for his unrelenting activism, was charged under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code and faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine.

Section 505(a) prohibits making, publishing or circulating a statement, rumour or report that may impede a member of the Tatmadaw in the execution of their duty.

Htin Kyaw, the leader of the Movement for Democracy Current Force, said he believed he was arrested for comments he made outside the North Okkapala Township Court on October 21 after he appeared there on outstanding charges over a land dispute case.

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His arrest under 505(a) followed a complaint filed by Lieutenant-Colonel Zaw Zaw Aung from the Yangon Region Command.

Htin Kyaw is alleged to have used offensive language when he accused the military of committing human rights abuses with impunity

He is also alleged to have said the National League for Democracy government needed to stand with the public and urge the military not to bully the people.

Htin Kyaw is being held at Insein Prison ahead of a hearing on November 9, sources close to the activist said.

Htin Kyaw was among about 80 political prisoners released under amnesty by President U Htin Kyaw on April 17.

The activist had been sentenced in May the previous year to 13 years and 10 months’ imprisonment for political activities.

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