A freelance photojournalist and activist who was detained by police in Monywa on Friday for mocking government and military leaders in a satirical post on Facebook was released from custody on Monday.
“I was released by the police after they summoned me for a discussion,” Aung Nay Myo told DVB shortly after walking free. “I had been ‘summoned for a discussion’. I suppose I’d better call it ‘summoned for a discussion’. Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for their concern and for helping me get out.”
He said he did not want to discuss any more details of his detention and subsequent release.
Aung Nay Myo was detained by Monywa police on 27 February after a complaint reportedly filed by an official named Myint Lwin of the Special Intelligence Department, commonly known as Special Branch.
The controversy revolved around a mock-up movie poster that the freelance photographer posted on Facebook which depicted the faces of government officials such as President Thein Sein and Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, as well as nationalist monk Wirathu, superimposed on a movie poster in military fatigues. The original poster in question was an advertisement for a 1971 movie, widely considered a military propaganda production.
The Special Branch officer reportedly called for him to be charged under articles 5(a) and (e) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act – for slandering the government.
Activist group 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88GPOS) on Sunday requested a meeting with Monywa police station’s superintendent to inquire about Aung Nay Myo’s situation.
88GPOS’ Ko Markee told DVB on Monday that Aung Nay Myo had been released without charge.
“We are happy to see him released, but in fact he should not have been arrested in the first place. He did not commit any offense,” he said.