USDP Official Who Posted Fake Suu Kyi Image Rearrested

By Salai Thant Zin 27 November 2015

RANGOON — Than Tun, an official of Burma’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), was rearrested on Wednesday after he had previously been charged and released on bail last month for sharing a fake, digitally altered image of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Facebook.

“We’ve rearrested U Than Tun and have sent him to Pathein Jail. We have also submitted his case to court,” Ye Lwin, a police officer, told The Irrawaddy.

Than Tun, the joint secretary of the Kangyidaunt Township USDP office in Irrawaddy Division, was arrested on Oct. 20 for allegedly sharing an image of National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi’s face transposed onto the body of a naked woman.

After complaining of illness, he spent two days in Kangyidaunt Hospital and another four days in Pathein Hospital before he was returned to police custody for an additional week. He was released on bail earlier this month.

Than Tun was reportedly rearrested after communications minister Myat Hein determined that his case should receive legal action. He will face trial at a local court in Kangyidaunt Township, with a hearing set for Dec. 2.

“The Ministry of Communications made a [swift] decision to charge Patrick Khum Jaa Lee but took so long to make a decision about USDP leader U Than Tun,” said Sithu Aung, a volunteer with the Hand to Hand Free Education Network who filed the original lawsuit against Than Tun under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.

The case is one of several currently before the courts related to materials shared on social media. Aid worker Patrick Khum Jaa Lee has been jailed since October and refused bail on several occasions over a Facebook post he disputes sharing.

Chaw Sandi Tun, a 25-year-old woman, is facing trial in Maubin Township, Irrawaddy Division, after allegedly sharing a satirical Facebook post deemed insulting to the military. She is facing twin charges, under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law which carries up to three years imprisonment and Article 500 of the Penal Code which stipulates punishment of up to two years.