Pathein Students Accused of Defamation Face Trial at District Court

By Salai Thant Zin 15 June 2017

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — Pathein University students faced defamation charges at Pathein District Court on Wednesday after the military appealed last month’s acquittal by the township court.

The Tatmadaw sued nine students of Pathein University for defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code after they staged a drama critical of military clashes with ethnic armed groups during a peace event in Pathein on Jan. 9

The township court acquitted seven of the students on May 12, but the plaintiff, Lt-Col Aung Myo Khaing of the Tatmadaw’s South Western Command, appealed to the district court.

“As the army was not satisfied with the township court’s acquittal of the seven students, it appealed to the district court,” Ko Min Min, one of the seven prosecuted students, told The Irrawaddy.

“But the township court did not send the dossier, so the trial will continue next week,” he added.

Two other students—Ko Aung Khant Zaw and Ko Myat Thu Htet—are still facing trial at the township court. The court hearing for the two will be held on June 28.

“The township court has already acquitted [seven of the students], but the army appealed to the district court, so, I feel like the army is keen to put us behind bars,” said Ko Aung Kaung Myat.

The students performed a satirical comedy in which a news agency interviewed supporters of conflict in Burma.

U Tun Tun Oo, leader of the Human Rights Activists Association in Pathein, is also facing trial at Pathein Township Court under Article 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law for streaming the drama on Facebook.