A Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) member has been arrested for posting a defamatory image of Aung San Suu Kyi on social media during the election campaign period.
Than Oo, the joint-secretary of the USDP in Kangyidaunt, posted a photoshopped image of the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader to social media, prompting the NLD to file a defamation complaint against him under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Act.
Than Oo was briefly detained by local police on the day of the complaint, but was later released on bail as the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology had yet to issue an authorisation for his arrest, which is required under the Telecommunications Act.
Sithu Aung, the NLD official who filed the complaint, said Than Oo was arrested on 25 November after the ministry issued the required approval.
“The Telecommunications Law provided that prior sanction from the Ministry of Communications is required for a prosecution under the law – in the cases of Chaw Sandi Htun and Patrick Kum Ja Lee, the ministry approved their prosecutions beforehand but for the USDP member, they only approved it after the elections,” Sithu Aung said.
The USDP member posted the edited image using a Facebook profile under the name ‘Thu Thu’ – where he referred to Suu Kyi as ‘Model Suu’ running a beauty pageant. He deactivated the account on 17 October – the same day the NLD filed their complaint.
Following his arrest, he was detained in Pathein prison.
Patrick Kum Jaa Lee and Chaw Sandi Htun remain in custody. Both stand accused under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law Article for posting defamatory pictures and comments about commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.