19 Dec Columnist’s wife apologizes if her husband’s speech offended

Written by Mizzima Published in Myanmar Read 2687 times
Photo: U Htin Lin Oo/Facebook

The wife of prominent columnist U Htin Lin Oo says she wants to apologize on behalf of her husband if her husband’s recent speech that covered Buddhism and nationalism offended anyone and called for a peaceful resolution of the case.

Daw Saw Sandar, wife of U Htin Lin Oo, told Mizzima on December 19 that she wants to solve the problem peacefully.

U Htin Lin Oo is currently in custody in Monywa prison after he appeared at the Chaung-U Township Court in Sagaing Region on December 17 on charges of offending religious feeling. He was denied bail.

He is charged under Article 295 (a) of the Penal Code that prohibits “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings,” and Article 298 that bans uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings. Both charges are punishable by custodial sentences and fines.

The National League for Democracy information officer made a speech on October 23 during which he criticized the use of Buddhism as a tool for extremism and nationalism. He says an excerpt of speech, which was widely shared over social media, was taken out of the context.

“We are Buddhists and we apologize to the monks again and hope to solve this problem peacefully,” Daw Saw Sandar said.

She said she is in discussions with his lawyer about how to proceed.

One member of his family said the imprisonment and lack of bail was “not fair.”

U Htin Lin Oo has been disowned by the National League for Democracy after an excerpt from a speech he gave was shared widely online, prompting accusations he had attacked Buddhism.

Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint, spokesperson of the NLD told Mizzima last month that the party relieved U Htin Lin Oo of his position because he went too far in his speech. And party issued a press release about it, claiming the speech was not in any way related to their party.