Anti-Muslim Agitator To Stay In Jail

By Salai Thant Zin 24 May 2016

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — A court in the Irrawaddy Division’s Kangyidaunt Township on Monday refused a bail request from the ultra-nationalist politician Nay Myo Wai, who has been accused of defaming the president, the army commander-in-chief and the state counselor on Facebook.

The court accepted a lawsuit filed against him last week by Wai Yan Aung, an executive member of the Burma Teachers’ Federation, under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law and accused him of defaming President Htin Kyaw, Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. Article 66(d) carries a punishment of up to three years’ imprisonment for using a telecommunications network to commit defamation.

“We applied for bail because my brother [Nay Myo Wai] has a breathing problem. But our application was rejected since he has not had medical treatment recently. We will try again at the next court hearing,” said Sandar Oo, Nay Myo Wai’s sister who is also acting as his lawyer.

Nay Myo Wai is a supporter of the Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha and serves as chairman of the Peace and Diversity Party. In recent years he has earned a reputation as a frequent propagator of anti-Muslim sentiment online. Nay Myo Wai was arrested on May 4 and has remained in custody since then in Irrawaddy Division’s Pathein Prison.

During the first court hearing yesterday, the plaintiff Wai Yan Aung testified but the printouts of screenshots of Nay Myo Wai’s allegedly defamatory Facebook posts were not admitted into evidence.

“I submitted 11 printouts from U Nay Myo Wai’s accounts defaming the heads of the state. But they were rejected at the request of his lawyer, saying, ‘the evidence was not strong.’ I will submit stronger evidence,” Wai Yan Aung said.

The next hearing will be on May 24 when the plaintiff will testify again.