U Thein Than Oo, lawyer for U Htin Lin Oo, told Mizzima on January 9 that his client’s fourth attempt to secure bail had been turned down.
The former National League for Democracy information officer made a speech on October 23, 2014 during which he criticized the use of Buddhism as a tool for extremism and nationalism. He says an excerpt of the speech, which was widely shared over social media, was taken out of context.
After his arrest, his wife apologized publicly on his behalf saying she was sorry if her husband’s speech had offended anyone, as this was not the intention.
“Some Ma Ba Tha monks came to the court and shouted ‘put him in jail,’ so we worry about the case and asked to change the court,” lawyer U Thein Than Oo told Mizzima. He said they are hoping to change the venue for the trial from the township court to Monywa district court.
The next appeal will be onJanuary 15, his lawyer said.
The Organization for the Protection of National Race and Religion or Ma Ba Tha is pursuing the case.
U Htin Lin Oo 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.
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.