Nationalist writer U Maung Thway Chun was found guilty of defamation and sentenced to two years in prison on Monday in Mingin township court of Sagaing Region.
U Maung Thway Chun was charged under Section 505(c) of the penal code for defaming the state in a speech he made at a birthday ceremony for a monk in Kyauk Tan village of Mingin on March 25.
He was sued by U Naing Naing Zaw, deputy township administrator, over his claim that Myanmar, which suffered 70 years of colonial rule under the British, was in danger of losing its religious and national identity.
Maung Thway Chun was editor-in-chief of the nationalist journal Tharki Thway and a senior member of the ultra-nationalist Ma Ba Tha organisation deemed illegal by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka, a government-appointed body of high-ranking Buddhist monks.
He tried to form an ultra-nationalist political party after Ma Ba Tha was abolished in 2017, but was rejected by the Union Election Commission.
Section 505(c) states that “whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report, with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity; shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or with both.”