Min­istry to hold press event on de­tained ALP mem­ber

The Myanmar Times - - News - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Yi Ywel Myint

THE Rakhine State Min­istry for Bor­der Af­fairs and Se­cu­rity will hold a press con­fer­ence to­day ad­dress­ing the defama­tion charges filed against an Arakan Lib­er­a­tion Party com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer.

Ac­cord­ing to the Sit­twe Po­lice Depart­ment, the press con­fer­ence will pro­vide an up­date on the case against U Khine Myo Tun and will ad­dress the Tat­madaw’s rea­sons for charg­ing him.

A Sit­twe po­lice of­fi­cer who de­clined to be named said that the press con­fer­ence was be­ing held in or­der to avoid dis­rup­tions at the man’s hear­ing on Septem­ber 26. He added that the min­istry may re­quest that the de­fen­dant’s sup­port­ers not at­tend the hear­ing.

The ALP mem­ber was ar­rested on July 25 for al­leged in­cite­ment and defama­tion un­der sec­tions 505(b) and (c) of the pe­nal code. The case re­lates to a feud from early this year, when the ALP pro­duced a re­port ac­cus­ing the Tat­madaw of forc­ing Rakhine civil­ians to act as porters and hu­man shields.

The re­port, which in­cluded video and photo tes­ti­mony, claimed that the Tat­madaw had com­mit­ted war crimes and vi­o­lated the Geneva Con­ven­tion. The Tat­madaw has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer U Khine Myo Htun went into hid­ing shortly af­ter the re­port’s re­lease when an anony­mous phone caller warned him of an im­mi­nent plan to charge him with sedi­tion. A source at the se­cu­rity and bor­der af­fairs min­istry told The Myan­mar Times in May that there was no plan to charge the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer, but that he had been asked to with­draw the al­le­ga­tions.

The ALP, an eth­nic armed group, has been pres­sured to is­sue a re­trac­tion of their claims. They have not com­plied with this re­quest.

The Rakhine State In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment con­firmed that the press con­fer­ence will take place and is re­lated to the Min­istry for Bor­der Af­fairs and Se­cu­rity but did not pro­vide any fur­ther de­tails.

If found guilty of both charges, U Khine Myo Tu could face up to four years’ im­pris­on­ment.

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