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Member of Arakan Liberation Party leadership gets 18 months for incitement

Protesters hold placards in support of the defendant Khaing Myo Htun.

A court in Sittwe Township has sentenced Khaing Myo Htun, a deputy information officer for the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), to 18 months’ imprisonment for remarks his organisation made last year that were critical of the Burma Army.

Khaing Myo Htun was convicted under Penal Code articles 505(b) and (c), two broadly worded incitement provisions. The case was based on a 24 April 2016 statement in which the ALP accused the Burma Army of extrajudicial killings of captured enemy combatants, as well as forcing civilians to serve as porters during frontline clashes against the Arakan Army ethnic armed group.

“There is no justice — that I was sentenced to imprisonment while we are moving forward with the nationwide ceasefire. We [the ALP] have signed the state-level ceasefire agreement. I am one of the members among the signatories,” said Khaing Myo Htun, following the verdict on Thursday.

Khaing Myo Htun told reporters that he does not plan to submit an appeal.

The plaintiff, Lieutenant Colonel Tin Naing Tun, filed the case on 16 May. With time served since his arrest in July 2016, Khaing Myo Htun will serve about four more months behind bars.

The ALP was established in 1967 and signed a state-level ceasefire agreement under the administration of President Thein Sein in April 2012.

On 15 October 2015, the ALP signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Naypyidaw, joining seven other non-state armed groups in the pact with the Thein Sein government and military.