Htin Lin Oo, a former information officer for the National League for Democracy (NLD),
has been indicted on religious defamation charges.
His lawyer Thein Than Oo told DVB on Tuesday that the Chaung-U court in Sagaing Division had upheld accusations against him. He was first charged in December on counts of religious defamation and hurting religious feelings under Article 295(a) and Article 298 of Burma’s penal code. The charges stem from alleged blasphemous remarks made during a public speech he gave in Chaung-U Township on 23 October.
The speech was shared extensively online.
Htin Lin Oo’s trial is set to commence on 24 March, when the defence lawyer will question prosecution witnesses.
His wife, Saw Sandar, told DVB that her husband will fight the charges.
“We will have to fight the charges, even if the rule of law may fail us and my husband is sure to be jailed,” she said.
Htin Lin Oo’s comments drew the ire of the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, a nationalistic monkhood organisation commonly known as the Ma-Ba-Tha, as well as other local Buddhist monks who initiated pattanikkujana kamma, a form of excommunication, against him.
He was removed from his NLD post as a result.
Htin Linn Oo on 15 January publicly apologised to around 30 Buddhist monks, who reportedly accepted his apology.
In the subsequent court proceedings, the prosecution refuted that the lawsuit was politically motivated, insisting that it had nothing to do with his status as an NLD member.