Burma’s Union Election Commission says that it can’t take action against a party led by a politician accused of making defamatory comments about the country’s political and military leaders because it hasn’t received a formal complaint against him.
Nay Myo Wai, the chairman of the Peace and Diversity Party, was arrested in Rangoon Division on Wednesday after a third party filed a petition with the police accusing him of online defamation under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.
The complaint stems from remarks Nay Myo Wai made on his Facebook page about President Htin Kyaw, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
One comment claimed that the top general hadn’t staged a coup against Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy-led government because he wanted to marry her.
Nay Myo Wai has also been active in anti-Muslim protests, most recently one staged outside the American embassy in Rangoon last week demanding that US officials stop using the word “Rohingya” to refer to members of a Muslim minority group living in western Burma’s Arakan State.
Following his arrest on Wednesday, he was transferred to prison in the Irrawaddy Division capital Pathein, where he was greeted by his sister and dozens of supporters from Ma Ba Tha, a radical Buddhist nationalist organization that has spearheaded a campaign against what it sees as the Islamization of Burma by the country’s Muslims.
Under Article 12 of the Political Parties Registration Law, parties can be disbanded if their leaders violate a pledge to refrain from hate speech that can led to unrest and personal attacks.
The Peace and Diversity Party ran in last year’s national elections, but failed to win a single seat in parliament.