Filmmaker Accused of Insulting Army Is Denied Bail, Sent to Prison

By San Yamin Aung 12 April 2019

YANGON—Prominent filmmaker and human rights activist Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, who was sued by a military officer for insulting and defaming the Army, was denied bail and sent to Insein Prison on Friday morning.

His lawyer U Robert San Aung told The Irrawaddy that U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi had requested bail for health reasons. The filmmaker had part of his liver removed just three months ago to treat liver cancer.

The judge rejected the request, however, and U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was sent directly to Insein Prison from Insein Township Court.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, who founded the Human Rights, Human Dignity International Film Festival, has been a strong critic of the Myanmar military. He posted series of Facebook posts criticizing the undemocratic military-drafted 2008 Constitution and the political role that it grants to the Army.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lin Htun of Yangon Region Command opened a defamation case against the filmmaker at the end of March under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. Just days later, the officer opened a second case against Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi under non-bailable Article 505(a) of the Myanmar Penal code.

Both charges carry a maximum two-year prison sentence.

The lawyer said that while Article 505(a) is a non-bailable offence, the judge could use his discretion in this case.

“His health condition is really worrisome,” he said.

The next court hearing will be on April 25.