MANDALAY — A court in Mandalay’s Chanmyathazi Township sentenced the plaintiff in a Myanmar Now lawsuit to a year and a half in prison on Wednesday for taking part in anti-government protests in Mandalay in 2017.
U Kyaw Myo Shwe was detained on Aug. 7, 2017, and charged with incitement for participating in anti-government protests along with nationalist monks and laypersons.
He was sent to Obo prison immediately after being charged.
Six nationalist monks were also arrested when local authorities raided a protest camp on Aug. 6, 2017. Demonstrators were urging the government to step down for failing to protect national interests.
U Kyaw Myo Shwe was arrested the following day when he appeared at court in Maha Aung Myay Township as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against an esteemed Myanmar Now journalist.
All of the arrested nationalists were charged with incitement under Article 505 (b) of the Penal Code. The six nationalist monks were sentenced in December 2017 to 18 months imprisonment with hard labor.
Since U Kyaw Myo Shwe was suffering severe back pain, he reportedly submitted several appeals to the court to allow bail. However, the court refused, as Article 505 (b) is a non-bailable offense. The process of submitting appeals for bail extended the duration of his trial.
Since U Kyaw Myo Shwe has already spent almost a year behind bars, which will count as time served, he will only have about seven months remaining on his sentence.
U Kyaw Myo Shwe filed a lawsuit against Myanmar Now chief editor Ko Swe Win under article 66 (d) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law in March 2017, accusing the editor of insulting ultranationalist monk U Wirathu in a Facebook post.