No bail for Voice chief

Pyae Phyo Aung
The voice chief editor and writer seen on 3rd court hearing at Bahan Township on June 16.

The third hearing of the chief editor of the Voice newspaper Kyaw Min Swe and the  writer "British" Ko Ko Maung took place on June 16 in Bahan Township court.

The defence submitted evidence of the editor's medical condition and called for bail. 

But the judge at Bahan Township court denied bail because the charges were made under the notorious Section 66(d). Another court hearing will be on June 23.

The chief editor and the writer were detained on June 2 in Bahan Myoma over a satirical piece about the military. They had been called in for police questioning. 

Lieutenant Colonel Lin Tun from the Yangon military command filed a charge under Section 66(d) of Telecommunications Law on May 17

Any citizen can use Section 66(d) to sue for alleged online abuse, regardless of whether they were the subject of the remarks. It carries a threat of up to three years in prison and suspects are normally refused bail, which is deeply controversial for alleged defamation, meaning it is often used to jail journalists and political activists during prolonged trials. 

The writer was acquitted because the piece only appeared in print, not online, meaning Section 66(d) was not relevant. 

Ko Ko Maung said: “It is a big blow for both of us because we were detained without being given any chance to defend ourselvesNo court verdict was made but we were still held captive. The chief editor's bail was rejected. I’ll stand with him no matter what."

Bail has been granted in Section 66(d) cases. The National League for Democracy MP Thida Maung for Yankin Township sued Myat Thet Mon, who set up a dog shelter. She was granted bail.

Human rights activist Tun Tun Oo from Pathein, Ayeyawaddy Region, was sued for uploading the live stream of a peace concert on social media on January 9. He was granted bail on June 5.