President Thein Sein’s ink on the four pieces of legislation is hardly dry, but at least one has been enforced.
Authorities in Ayeyarwady region’s Wakema township have arrested and charged a 37-year-old man with violating the “Monogamy Law” by living with a woman other than his wife, the Myanmar Times reported.
Ko Myint Soe Aung is believed to be the first person charged under the new law, one of four that have passed in recent weeks and months. The other three deal with interfaith marriage, birth control and religious conversion.
Rights groups feared that the laws would be used to target religious minorities and women.
Did we mention that the suspect in this case is Muslim?
Local members of Ma Ba Tha, the Buddhist group that supported the legislation, complained to authorities about Myint Soe Aung’s strange – to them – living relationship.
He was said to be residing in his aunt’s house with a Buddhist woman who was not his wife, which could be seen as a violation of Article 9 of the Monogamy bill. The rule prohibits extramarital affairs, according to Amnesty International.
“We wouldn’t have any problem if they were single,” U Thaw Bi Ta, the secretary of the Patriotic Association of Wakema township, told the Times. The Patriotic Association of Wakema township is aligned with Ma Ba Tha.
“But we were worried that this young Buddhist woman would be cheated. He broke the rules by living with another woman while he was still married. He should be charged under the law because he has shown disrespect. I want this handled properly because it is the first case.”
If convicted, Myint Soe Aung, who also goes by Jalar, could get seven years in prison. The case is going before a judge on September 29.