Rakhine minister warns ALP supporters from protesting court hearing
IN an attempt to preemptively stave-off protests outside a coming hearing, Rakhine State officials yesterday warned the defendant’s supporters that they will be arrested and charged should they assemble outside the court.
The Rakhine State Ministry for Border Affairs and Security held a press conference yesterday addressing defamation charges filed against an Arakan Liberation Party communications officer.
Colonel Htein Lin, state minister for Border Affairs and Security, said that the detainee’s arrest was not forced by the Tatmadaw, who had filed charges against the officer in relation to a report detailing accusations of forced portering.
U Khine Myo Tun was arrested on July 25 for incitement and defamation under sections 505(b) and (c) of the penal code.
Col Htein Lin warned the defendant’s supporters that they will be charged in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law if they protest the September 26 hearing without obtaining prior permission.
“Legally, they will need permission from police. And if they do not apply for permission in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession law, they may be sued,” he said.
The ALP, an ethnic armed group, is under pressure to retract its allegations of forced portering and claims that the Tatmadaw had committed war crimes and violated the Geneva Convention. Col Htein Lin said if the group agrees to retract the statement, the Tatmadaw will reconsider the case.
He declined to answer whether that meant the ALP communications officer would be released.
During a meeting between the ALP and the border affairs ministry in June, Col Htein Lin had made an initial request that the offending statement be withdrawn or amended. However, the ALP has continued to not comply and U Khine Myo Htun was arrested.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for September 26.