Five Men Detained, Charged Over ‘Rohingya Calendar’

By May Sitt Paing 25 November 2015

RANGOON — Police have charged five men accused of involvement in the printing of a calendar which included comments that the Muslim Rohingya are an ethnic minority group living in Burma.

The five accused, including Kyaw Kyaw, the owner of Kyaw Printing House in Rangoon, and four colleagues, were charged under Article 505(b) of the Penal Code, Pazundaung Township police said on Wednesday.

As Myanmar Now reported on Tuesday, the 2016 calendar uses the word Rohingya, refers to a 1950s era “Rohingya radio channel” and cites former prime minister U Nu as having used the description. The publishing house reportedly printed over 700 copies of the calendar.

Burma’s government refers to the Rohingya minority predominately residing in Arakan State as “Bengalis” to imply they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The five men were each hit with 1 million kyat fines on Monday under the Printing and Publishing Law before being rearrested.

Article 505(b) of Burma’s Penal Code stipulates punishment of up to two years imprisonment for persons found guilty of causing, or intending to cause, “fear or alarm to the public” or encouraging offences against the state.

Pazundaung Township police confirmed the five men were being held in Insein Prison and that a warrant had been issued for another individual who allegedly placed an order for the calendars.