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Myanmar: Christian leader sued, commented on oppression

Myanmar community leader spoke this July at White House about military oppression on ethnic Christians

Kyaw Ye Lynn   | 28.08.2019
Myanmar: Christian leader sued, commented on oppression

YANGON, Myanmar

A prominent Christian leader faced a lawsuit for his comment on the military persecution against ethnic Christians in the country at a White House meeting last month.

Hkalam Samson, chair of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), was among 27 victims of religious persecution from 17 countries invited to a meeting with U.S President Donald Trump on July 17.

"We, Christians in Myanmar, are being oppressed and tortured by the Myanmar military government," he told Trump during a meeting.

"There is no religious freedom in Myanmar," he said in a televised meeting.

He also thanked Trump for imposing the new entry ban on four top Myanmar military leaders and their families for committing human rights violations in Myanmar and atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

Myanmar military responded on August 26 with a complaint filed against Hkalam Samson at a court in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar, according to local media reports.

Although it is still unclear under which law the case was filed against him, media reports said the court will decide on September 9 whether the case should proceed or not.

Hkalam Samson told Anadolu Agency that he just started telling what is really happening in the country.

"I didn’t mean to insult anyone. I just told him how we suffer," he said by phone.

"Telling the truth should not be crime," he added.

The court has yet to inform him about the military complaint.

Military spokesperson Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun refused to make comments as his team is still getting details from the officer who filed the complaint.

In response to the recent entry ban, Zaw Min Tun said that Trump's decision only aimed to harm the dignity of Myanmar military.

In Kachin state, ethnic Christians are a majority.

Fighting between ethnic rebel group Kachin Independent Army and military resumed in Kachin state in 2011 after 17-year ceasefire with military.

Military have been accused of committing human rights violation of civilians, mostly Christians, in Kachin state.

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