Breaking: Myanmar Now Editor Arrested

By The Irrawaddy 30 July 2017

YANGON — Ko Swe Win, chief editor of Myanmar Now news agency, was arrested at Yangon International Airport at about 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Airport police told The Irrawaddy that a person who is facing an ongoing lawsuit is usually detained if they try to leave the country.

Ko Swe Win is being charged under controversial Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law by a follower of the nationalist group Ma Ba Tha.

Mandalay resident U Kyaw Myo Shwe opened the case in March at a police station in Mandalay’s Maha Aungmyay Township, accusing Ko Swe Win of insulting ultranationalist monk U Wirathu.

U Kyaw Myo Shwe told Mandalay police that the editor was leaving the country on Sunday, according to a police report on the arrest, however it is unclear how Ko Kyaw Myo Shwe obtained the information.

The report stated that the plaintiff wrote to the Ministry of Transport and Communication on July 12, explaining that he wanted to continue with the trial process.

The ministry responded on July 21, saying it would continue with the case. U Kyaw Myo Shwe then told police he believed Ko Swe Win was trying to flee the country and demanded his arrest.

Mandalay police informed their counterparts in Mingaladon, according to the report, which said the editor arrived at the airport at 7.15 p.m., where he was arrested by Mingaladon Township police captain Mya Tun Kyaw at Terminal 2 at 7.20 p.m. and brought to police custody.

Some unconfirmed reports said the authorities would transfer him to Mandalay Prison tonight.

Ko Swe Win was scheduled to visit Bangkok for a short work trip, according to Myanmar Now staff, who confirmed his arrest and that he was being held at Mingaladon police station.

The staff added that their editor had a verbal agreement with Mandalay police that he would report to them on August 3.