Burma

Buddhist Monk Faces Colonel’s Lawsuit for Criticizing Myanmar Army

By Zarni Mann 9 September 2019

MANDALAY – A Mandalay-based army officer has opened another lawsuit against the Buddhist monk U Sein Ti Ta under the Telecommunications Law’s Article 66(d) with Pyigyitagon Township police. 

The lawsuit is the second for U Sein Ti Ta filed by Lieutenant Colonel Thant Zaw Oo, who sued him under the Penal Code’s Article 505(b) in May for criticizing the military on social media.  

Pyigyitagon police confirmed the lawsuit and said officers were investigating the case. 

“The officer filed the lawsuit based on the Sayardaw’s post on March 18, which said military leaders are using the army for their own good and that there is no security for the country, therefore decreasing the dignity of the military,” said Police Major Nay Myo Aung from Pyigyitagon. 

The Pyigyitagon Township Court dropped the first lawsuit in July, saying it should be filed through the police with military approval.

U Sein Ti Ta was one of the monk leaders of the so-called Saffron Revolution in Pakokku Township, Magwe Region. Thousands of monks marched in Yangon, Mandalay and other big cities in September 2007. 

He was arrested after helping the victims of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and was granted a presidential pardon in 2011. 

As a strong supporter of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, U Sein Ti Ta was a critic of the military government and has remained critical of the armed forces. 

The military has regularly used Article 66(d) to sue critics, who often face additional lawsuits under the Penal Code.

“They sued me with 505(b) and, since it didn’t work, they are trying again to sue me under the Telecommunications Law. This shows the military don’t want to be criticized for any reason,” said U Sein Ti Ta. 

“I will face the lawsuit. But I will not stop what I’m doing. I’m criticizing them because I want to push for peace and security and the rule of law,” he added.

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