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Activist Michael Kyaw Myint was today sentenced to nine months imprisonment for defamation, found guilty of falsely accusing an associate of the Yangon chief minister of accepting a bribe.
A Yangon judge sentenced him to six months in jail under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law – online defamation – with an additional three months for issuing a “wrongful accusation” – an offence under Burma’s penal code.
The case stems after the outspoken activist called a press conference on 2 June last year, at which he claimed that he had paid a bribe of 1.2 million kyat (US$900) to a government official to secure the return of confiscated land.
The judge at Dagon township court today read the verdict in court. “It is evident that Michael Kyaw Myint used a telecommunications network to post libellous writings about the chief minister of Yangon,” he said. “This has caused misunderstandings among the public … He is thus sentenced to six months imprisonment under article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.”
Addressing the court today, Michael Kyaw Myint said, “The judiciary is still under the ‘system’. Nothing has changed. ‘The system’ should be under the judiciary, not the other way around.”
Michael Kyaw Myint still faces charges under Article 19 of the Peaceful Assembly Law and *Article 505 (b) of the penal code, an offence akin to sedition.
Burmese penal code Article 505(b): “Intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity.”