Medical Superintendent Charged for Refusing Regime’s Order to Reopen Hospital

By The Irrawaddy 14 March 2021

Pathein — Myanmar’s police have charged the medical superintendent of Pathein Hospital in Ayeyarwady Region with incitment, according to his relatives.

Dr. Than Min Htut, a prominent figure in Ayeyarwady Region’s medical circles, was summoned to the regional administrative council’s office on Friday for a meeting and was arrested by special branch officers after the meeting, according to his relatives.

“I learned that Dr. Than Min Htut was forcibly pushed by the township police chief into a van after the meeting. Police Major Tin Naing has filed a lawsuit under Article 505(d) of the Penal Code,” said a relative.

On Feb. 5 health workers at Pathein Hospital joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM) in protest against the military regime and the hospital has not reopened since.

Dr. Than Min Htut was arrested because he rejected demands to stop the CDM and reopen Pathein Hospital, the largest public hospital in Ayeyarwady Region, despite intense pressure from the military’s governing body, the State Administrative Council, according to sources.

Myanmar’s military regime changed the colonial-era Penal Code’s definition of incitement to protect the coup leaders.

Article 505 (d) threatens two years in prison for the crime of inciting anyone to commit an offence.

“It is intended to punish the spreading of false news and encouraging disobedience and disloyalty among civil servants and military personnel. The clauses were added to suppress the people,” said a lawyer from Pathein.

Following Dr. Than Min Htut’s arrest, residents across Pathein organized night protests, calling for his release. The security forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets to quash the protests until midnight, according to Pathein residents.

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