By NANG MWE Lyeng / SHAN
The Nam Yun People’s Militia Force (PMF) has brought defamation charges against an electoral candidate from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) in eastern Shan State’s Mong Hpyat Township.
The candidate for the township’s Constituency 2, Kya Hpay, wrote on his personal Facebook page on November 10 that he had witnessed militia soldiers bringing villagers to vote on election day two days earlier; PMFs are typically allied with the Burmese military.
“The election is unfair,” he wrote. “I saw some PMF soldiers picking up villagers from their villages and sending them to polling stations.”
He repeated the statement to the Yangon-based Khit Thit Media, and noted that the PMF soldiers are typically members of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which was declared the winner of the contested parliamentary seats in Mong Hpyat.
A police officer in Mong Hpyat confirmed to SHAN that the PMF had brought a legal case against Kya Hpay over the comments, citing violations of Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Law, which deals with online defamation. Those convicted of breaking the law face a fine and up to three years in prison.
The officer said that the Nam Yun PMF had complained that the SNLD candidate had “insulted [their] dignity.”
“I haven’t received any notification, so I don’t know about it,” Kya Hpay told SHAN, regarding the case.
Among the USDP’s winning candidates in the township was Lin Zaw Htun, a former personal staff officer with Burmese military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing.
SHAN repeatedly tried to call the Nam Yun PMF for comment but had received no response at the time of reporting.