World Bulletin / News Desk
A group of five university students and four high school students is accused of damaging the army’s reputation, said Myo Thu, a police officer in Pathein, a coastal town about 200 kilometers west of Myanmar’s former capital Yangon.
“The court starts hearing the students’ defamation case today,” he told Anadolu Agency by phone on Wednesday.
Aung Myo Khaing, general staff officer of Southwestern Military Command based in Pathein, the Ayeyawaddy region, filed a defamation case against the students on Jan. 17.
The students are charged with criminal defamation under Article 500 of the Myanmar Penal Code, said Myo Thu, and face up to two years in prison, or a fine, or both, if convicted.
According to a report posted Monday by online outlet Irrawaddy, the student performed a satirical comedy in which a news agency called “Oxygen” interviewed supporters of armed conflict in the country during a discussion of the peace process in Pathein.
“We did not want to harm either the military or ethnic armed groups,” Aung Khant Zaw, lead organizer of the drama, told Irrawaddy.
“We just mimicked demonstrators which supported armed clashes,” he said, referring to the recent demonstrations in Myanmar’s major cities to show support for the military’s war against the armed groups.