Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Myanmar Now Editor Requested

By Zarni Mann 17 June 2019

MANDALAY—The lawyer representing the editor of Yangon-based news publication Myanmar Now, who has been on trial for almost two years, submitted a request to Maha Aungmyay Court to have the lawsuit under Article 66 (d) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law dismissed on Monday.

“The plaintiff’s witnesses failed to present to the court despite being ordered by the court to present more than 20 times. That’s why we have submitted a [request] to dismiss the lawsuit according to the procedures of the law,” said lawyer Daw Ywat Nu Aung who is representing editor Ko Swe Win.

The lawyer said she submitted the request in line with court procedures and on the instruction of Chief Justice U Tun Tun Oo, who ordered the courts to be fast and effective.

“Court procedure states that if the plaintiffs and their witnesses are not presented to the court despite several court orders and without reason, the lawsuit can be dismissed, so that’s why we have submitted the request,” she added.

The court will hear her request on Tuesday and will make a decision next week.

Ko Swe Win has been on trial since July 30, 2017.

The editor is being sued by nationalist U Kyaw Myo Shwe, who is accusing him of writing a Facebook post which is defamatory the ultranationalist Buddhist monk U Wirathu.

The plaintiff’s witnesses—U Wirathu, Ko Kyaw Swar Tun, Badanda Teikaneinya Biwuntha and the investigating officer, Police Lieutenant Kyaw Thu—have repeatedly failed to present to the court.

In the meantime, an arrest warrant has been issued for U Wirathu on accusations of sedition  for making personal and obscene comments about State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the government. He is still at large and has not presented to the court for Ko Swe Win’s case either.

Another of the plaintiff’s witnesses, Police Lieutenant Kyaw Thu is also facing a lawsuit under anti-corruption laws and is also still at large and thus failing to appear at Ko Swe Win’s trials.

“Another witness, Ko Kyaw Swar Tun failed to present at the court about 24 times and so the delays in the hearing because from them is enough. That’s why we believe the lawsuit should be dismissed,” said lawyer Daw Ywat Nu Aung.

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