Tatmadaw Drops Case Against Reverend Who Thanked Trump For Sanctioning Myanmar Generals

The military has dropped its case against a prominent Christian leader who thanked US President Donald Trump for imposing travel restrictions on top Myanmar generals.

Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, leader of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), faced possible arrest and jail time for his comments at the Oval Office during a televised meeting between Trump and survivors of religious persecution last month.

But the plaintiff, Lieutenant-Colonel Than Htike, withdrew the case Monday after the US State Department expressed concern.

“A decision to pursue this criminal complaint and arrest Reverend Samson on the basis of his protected speech would be deeply troubling,” the department said in a statement.

“The case has been dropped,” said court spokesperson Than Tun, though he did not give a reason for the decision.

“I believe it was withdrawn because they had to consider suggestions made internationally,” Dr Samson told Myanmar Now.

The decision may also signal a desire to “smooth things over between the people and the Tatmadaw,” he said.

He added: “We can view it as a positive step that the Tatmadaw has withdrawn a case against a civilian.”

Dr Samson told Trump during the meeting that soldiers were still torturing religious minorities in Myanmar, and thanked him for his administration’s decision to ban Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and three other military leaders from entering the US.

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