Statement of PEN Myanmar (1/2020)
28th of January 2020, Yangon, Myanmar
Urging to review of actions that impede freedom of speech and expression
1. Advocate, U Kyee Myint, U Nay Myo Zin and poet Saw Wai, member of PEN Myanmar, preached to the people in Kawthaung for supporting of the Union of Myanmar Constitutional Amendment Joint Committee’s (2018) which is organized by the order of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Office No. (15/2019) on April 3, 2019.
2. Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Zaw, from the Coast Guard’s Division (Sa Ka Kha-20), filed the case with criminal code (923) against the speakers because the preaching abases the military’s reputation. The court has taken action under section 505 (a).
3. PEN Myanmar is an organization of promoting and preventing the right to have freedom of speech and expression. Poet, Saw Wai is one of the elected directors of PEN Myanmar from the start of December of 2019.
4. It was significant that prosecuting the public with notices of a constitutional amendment does not improve the reputation of the military. PEN recognizes that an organization’s integrity can be enhanced only when it protects the right to freedom of expression.
5. Regarding the complaint of Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Zaw, it was found that the actions of the court are inconsistent with the existing laws.
6. It was found that the warrants for the poet, Saw Wai without legal notice were illegal, and the taking actions to the advocate, U Kyee Myint was also illegal.
7. We urge the respective authorities to review the actions of judiciary which promoting the rule of law.
PEN Myanmar Center