Burma Times Correspondent: December 18, 2015
Five people sent to jail for printing the ‘Rohingya’ calendar appeared for the third time at Yangon’s Pazundaung Township Court on Thursday. Kyaw Press owner Hoke Shwe, Manager Ye Thu Aung, employees Win Naing aka Marmek, Zaw Min Oo and bookbinder Win Htwe (aka Ismail) as well as the man accused of ordering the calendar, Aung Khin are guilty of mentioning the Rohingyas as an ethno religious group of Myanmar.
The five accused men have been charged under the 505(b) of the Penal Code that provides imprisonment for anyone making, publishing or circulating information which may cause public fear or alarm, and which may incite people to commit offences “against the State or against the public tranquillity”.
The government and many in Myanmar are fiercely opposed to the idea that the Rohingyas are a part of the nation despite evidence that the Muslim community has inhabited Arakan at least since the 14th century. Instead the government identifies themselves as Bengalis, implying they are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
Police raided Kyaw Press in Pazundaung Township on November 21 and seized found 52 printing plates and 3,490 printed papers. Charges were filed against the accused and a court subsequently ordered them to pay a fine of a million kyats.
While the case was originally supposed to be closed with the payment of the fine, police renewed charges and sources say this is going to be a long drawn out process.
The renewal of the case came amidst ferocious protests by the anti Muslim group Ma Ba Tha that wants all Rohingyas out of the country.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for December 23.