Prominent columnist U Htin Lin Oo will face trial for insulting religion after a court at Chaung-U in Sagaing Region upheld charges against him on March 17.
The trial of the former National League for Democracy information officer is due tobegin on March 24.
U Htin Lin Oo was charged with two counts of insulting religion over a speech he gave at a village in Chaung-U Township on October 27 last year during which he criticised the use of Buddhism as a tool for extreme nationalism.
The court’s decision to uphold the charges came during its 11th hearing of the case, during which U Htin Lin Oo was repeatedly denied bail.
Supporters of U Htin Lin Oo had hoped he would avoid trial because he had publicly apologised to a group of Buddhist monks at his fifth hearing on January 15.
U Htin Lin Oo told Mizzima that he was a devout Buddhist and the comments made during his speech were aimed at protecting the image of Buddhism.
“I have been detained as a result of my deeds in past life. I did the right things, but I had to face the case. Later the truth will be revealed,” he said.
U Htin Lin Oo’s lawyer Ko San Tun Aung told Mizzima that his client had been indicted because of what he described as “pressure above the law”.
“If there is pressure, it is difficult for lawyers to handle the case,” Ko San Tun Aung said.
The case against U Htin Lin Oo was filed by Immigration Department chief U Tun Tun Khine and came after excerpts of his speech circulated on social media.
Ko San Tun Aung said five prosecution witnesses and a defence witness would testify when the trial begins on March 24.
“The case will end after about three more hearings, but there is no chance that he will be released,” Ko San TunAung said.
“He will be imprisoned and I say that because in this case there are instigations,” he said.