Court Allows U Wirathu Supporter’s Video Evidence Against Editor

By Zarni Mann 17 May 2018

MANDALAY – A court in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Township on Thursday rejected a bid by the editor of Myanmar Now to have video evidence submitted against him by a supporter of an ultranationalist monk ruled inadmissible.

U Kyaw Myo Shwe, a supporter of U Wirathu, sued Myanmar Now chief editor Ko Swe Win in March 2017 under Article 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law on grounds that he insulted the monk. Ko Swe Win was arrested and released on bail in July last year. The plaintiff submitted a video clip of an interview Ko Swe Win gave to Radio Free Asia’s Burmese-language service.

“The judge said the evidence submitted by the plaintiff did not play a vital role in the lawsuit, so she rejected the complaint,” said U Myo Min Zaw, a lawyer for Ko Swe Win, after the court session.

Ko Swe Win initially submitted the complaint to a higher court, the Mandalay District Court, in early May. The court decided to accept the evidence submitted by the plaintiff and said it would respect the decision of the lower court.

Ko Swe Win and his lawyers allege that the video clip submitted by the plaintiff was edited in order to incriminate the defendant, and want it ruled inadmissible as evidence.

“Although the court decided to accept the evidence, we will have another chance to challenge it when we make our arguments before the court,” the lawyer said.

Ko Kyaw Myo Shwe insisted the evidence submitted to the court was genuine and had not been edited.

“Ko Swe Win said my evidence was not reliable. However, those are things which he posted on Facebook, and was quoted as saying by the media; I’m not fabricating them,” he told journalists after Thursday’s court session.

“I would like to urge Ko Swe Win not to be afraid… If he does not wish to continue with the trial, he can simply apologize to Sayardaw U Wirathu and I will withdraw the lawsuit immediately,” he added.

Maha Aung Myay Township Court heard from the plaintiff on Thursday and will continue to hear from him at the next hearing, which is scheduled for May 31.