A veteran Myanmar journalist, arrested after criticising an ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk, was on Monday transferred to prison in Mandalay, where he would likely be charged with criminal defamation.
Swe Win, Chief Editor at a local news website, Myanmar Now, was detained at the airport in the commercial capital of Yangon on Sunday night as he attempted to board a flight to Bangkok.
He had been facing lawsuits filed by supporters of powerful Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha earlier this year after he shared a Facebook post that accused the firebrand monk Wirathu.
This violated the Buddhist code of monastic discipline.
Win was set to meet with police to discuss the charges in August, but was not fleeing the country at the time of his arrest, his legal advisor, Khin Myint said.
The lawyer said Win is likely to be charged under 66D of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law, a controversial statute increasingly used against journalists and activists in Myanmar.
State counselor, Aung Kyi has said that government is considering amending the law, but human rights groups have called for it to be scrapped.
Speaking after his arrest on Sunday, Win said that he hoped his case would pressure the government to get rid of the law, the Democratic Voice of Burma reported.
“It is good that this has happened. I have got to tackle this. The law should not exist,” he reportedly said. “It will be good for the citizens as well.