Myanmar police arrest journalist ahead of defamation trial

Police in Myanmar have arrested a prominent journalist, accusing him of attempting to flee the country just days ahead of his trial on defamation charges brought by a controversial Buddhist monk who leads an ultra-nationalist movement accused of stirring up hatred against the country's Muslim minority.

The editor of the nonprofit online news outlet Myanmar Now, Swe Win, was taken by police Monday to the central city of Mandalay, where his trial is to begin Thursday. His lawyer said he was arrested Sunday as he prepared to board a flight to Thailand to make arrangements for the news service's operations while he is involved with his trial.

Several journalists have been arrested recently in cases that rights advocates say violate freedom of expression.