Five people who were sent to jail for their involvement in printing a calendar that stated that Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic-religious minority in Myanmar appeared for the third time at Yangon’s Pazundaung Township Court yesterday, charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code.
Section 505(b) provides imprisonment for anyone making, publishing or circulating information which may cause public fear or alarm, and which may incite people to commit offences “against the State or against the public tranquillity”.
On November 21, the police searched Kyaw Press, situated at 54th Street, Pazundaung Township, and found 52 printing plates and 3,490 printed papers. Subsequently Pazundaung Township Police Force Police Major Khin Maung Latt registered a case against Kyaw Press owner Hoke Shwe (aka Kyaw Kyaw), Manager Ye Thu Aung, employees Win Naing aka Marmek, Zaw Min Oo (aka Harnik) and bookbinder Win Htwe (aka Ismail) as well as the man accused of ordering the calendar, Aung Khin, under section 20 of the Printing Law. They were consequently fined 1 million kyats each by Pazundaung trial court on November 23.
Defence lawyer Myo Min Swe representing Win Naing told Mizzima, “This case was finished with a 1 million kyat each fine on November 23 but the Pazundaung Police Station Police Major charged this case again under section 505(b) of Penal Code on November 24. Aung Khin who ordered the printing has absconded. The remaining five will be produced before the court today. The accused, Aung Khin, came to my client’s printing press ‘Shwe Letyar’ but he told him that he could not accept the order as his press was overloaded with other job orders and suggested he go to another printing press on 54th Street and so he was charged with abetting,”.
He further said that the case would take a long time as the court would examine prosecution witnesses first and then his client later.
During the court’s witness examination, prosecution witness Saw Tun, the Shwepyithar Township Ward No. 19 administrator, said that he visited and inspected the house of Aung Khin at No. 1018, Khwarnyo Street, Ward No. 19 on November 25 at 2 a.m. with Pazundaung police station House Officer and beat constable Aung Win. Aung Khin’s daughter told them that the house was a rented house and her father was out at the moment. The witness also told the court that they heard that Aung Khin might stay at his son’s house in Shwepyithar Township, Ward No. 20.
Today’s court proceedings were witnessed by the Htantabin Abbot from the Patriotic Myanmar Monks’ Union under directions given to him by the nationalist Buddhist organisation Ma Ba Tha.
The Htantabin Abbot said, “Our abbot U Parmaukkha came and witnessed the first hearing but today he was not free and asked me to come and witness the hearing. The statement given today by the prosecution witness was evasive and he didn’t give straight and clear answers. It will be premature to give comments on this case at the moment. We will continue to watch and monitor this case.”
The Pazundaung Township court judge Nay Aung Myin has fixed the next hearing for the 23rd of this month.