Man Who Joined Anti-Muslim Mob Hands Himself in to Police

One of the men accused of inciting unrest when a nationalist mob forced Muslims to halt their Ramadan prayers in Yangon last month has handed himself in to the police. 

A crowd of about 40 nationalist supporters greeted Thiha Myo Naing as he arrived at the South Dagon township court Thursday to face charges under section 505(b). 

His alleged accomplice Michael Kyaw Myint, who is accused of being the mob’s ringleader, is still on the run. 

The two were among more than 100 who descended upon South Dagon on 15 May, pushing their way into buildings where people were praying and demanding they stop. 

Mob members then forced Muslim leaders to sign statements promising not to hold prayers again.

Section 505(b) bans disseminating information that causes “fear or alarm” or which may induce someone to commit an “offense against the State or against public tranquility.” It carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. 

As he was led to a police truck in handcuffs, Thiha Myo Naing shouted that he has been working for his country and his religion. 

“I wasn’t running away,” he added, an apparent reference to his status as a fugitive.  

Thiha Myo Naing is the chairman of the Party for Uplifting the Life of Common People, which was recently founded under the direction of Michael Kyaw Myint.

Michael Kyaw Myint was sentenced to a total of a year and 10 months in prison in 2017 under various charges after he accused Yangon’s chief minister and a close aide of corruption. 

Thiha Myo Naing’s next court hearing is scheduled for 14 June. 

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