An Amnesty International researcher has called for the immediate release of a Burmese activist who has been jailed for six months after she was found guilty of insulting the country’s army and the colour of its uniform on social media.
Chaw Sandi Tun wrote the Facebook post after the army unveiled a new light green uniform - a similar colour to a sarong worn by politician and activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
The post, believed to be aimed at the army chief General Min Aung Hlaing, read: “If you love her [Ms Suu Kyi] so much, put a piece of her longyi [sarong] on your head.”
But the idea of a man wearing women’s clothing is traditionally deemed as offensive in Burma - also known as Myanmar - Amnesty International said.
Tun, 25, a member of Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, was sentenced under the Electronic Transactions Act. It bans using the telecoms network to “extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence or intimidate”.
According to the Irrawaddy news site, Tun's lawyer, Robert San Aung, said his client denied sharing the post.
“The rule of law in Burma is isolated. Others who spread hate speech [online] that assaults race and religion and the community are free while she was jailed,” he said.
In pictures: General elections in Myanmar
In pictures: General elections in Myanmar
A man holds up a sign stating 'we must win' as crowds gather for the election result announcement in front of the National League for Democracy's headquarters after Myanmar's first free and fair election on November 9, 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. The elections are Myanmar's first openly contested polls in 25 years, following decades of military rule. Noble laureate Aung San Suu Kyi appeared poised to win power in Myanmar despite her party's growing concerns about cheating in yesterday's historic election
A huge crowd gathers outside the headquarters of National League of Democracy (NLD) party displaying a huge portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon
Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrating as they look at the official election results on a giant screen outside the National League of Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon
Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party pose as they watch the official results on a giant screen outside the party headquarters in Yangon
Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi casts her ballot during general elections in Yangon
Visually impaired persons are accompanied by their helpers as nthey cast their votes at a polling station of the Myit Kyee Na township, Kachin State, northern Myanmar
Officials of Union Election Commission sort ballots at a polling station in Mandalay
A Muslim Myanmar voter casts her vote at a polling station in Yangon
People stand in line to get into their polling station in North Okkalapa, a township outside of central Yangon
Kayan woman, from one of Myanmar's ethnic minority groups, shows her ink-stained finger after she voted, in front of a polling station in Panpet village, Demoso township, Kayah state
At the time of her arrest in October, Laura Haigh, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher, said: “It is deeply worrying that the authorities now appear to be moving their repression into the digital sphere. In Myanmar, human rights defenders and political activists regularly rely on Facebook to share information and communicate.”
After Tun's sentence was announced, Ms Haigh called for her immediate release from prison.
"This is a outrageous sentence - Chaw Sandi Tun should never have had to stand trial in the first place for a harmless Facebook post. She should be immediately and unconditionally released. Coming so soon after Myanmar's elections, this is a vivid reminder of how repressive conditions still are in the country, in particular for those who dare to challenge or even just mock the military."
In October, Patrick Kum Jaa Lee was also arrested for a Facebook post which showed someone stepping on a photo of the army chief. He faces up to three years in prison if found guilty.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content