Burma

Jailed Whistleblower Concerned Truth Will Continue to be Covered Up

By Htun Htun 5 September 2018

After more than four months behind bars, U Moe Yan Naing looks haggard, said Ma Tu Tu, the wife of the former police captain.

U Moe Yan Naing, 47, was dismissed from the police force and sentenced to one year in prison after he testified in court that two Reuters reporters Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo were framed by the police.

“How could Police Brigadier-General Tin Ko Ko do this to me?” he asked rhetorically when she visited him in prison.

“I want to ask the same question,” said the 42-year-old wife. According to U Moe Yan Naing’s testimony, Police Brig-Gen Tin Ko Ko masterminded the setup which led to the arrest of the reporters.

U Moe Yan Naing, one of the police involved in handing the so-called classified documents to the reporters on Dec. 12 last year, testified in court on April 20 that the police had planned to entrap the reporters. He was detained immediately after the court session and was later convicted and sentenced in absence to a year in jail for breaching police discipline.

The court refused to deduct his detention period from the jail sentence, so he will have to serve the full one-year term. U Moe Yan Naing has already made an appeal to the Home Affairs Ministry, but to little avail.

“I was deeply hurt. Our life is ruined,” said Ma Tu Tu who was evicted along with their three children from the police housing where they had lived in the capital, Naypyitaw, the day after her husband testified.

The family has since moved in with U Moe Yan Naing’s father in his native town of Khin-U, in Sagaing Region.

“I had to transfer my youngest daughter from a school in Naypyitaw to one in Khin-U,” she said.   “Siblings of my husband have been supporting us since,” she said, explaining that her husband’s salary had been the main source of income for the whole family.

U Moe Yan Naing had worked as a private tuition teacher before he joined the police force. “He said we could do it again and live a worry-free life after his release,” said Ma Tu Tu.

Though he didn’t speak about the case of the Reuters reporters after his jail sentence, he was interested to know the verdict of the court, she said.

The two were sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday. The Irrawaddy was not able to reach U Moe Yan Naing for his response after the verdict.

None of his family members blame him for giving his testimony, said Ma Tu Tu.

“I am revealing the truth because police of any rank have their own integrity. It is true that they were set up,” U Moe Yan Naing told reporters after his first testimony.

“He was jailed because he told the truth. It is the truth, which is crystal clear. I trust him,” said Ma Tu Tu.

U Moe Yan Naing has said he feels regret for his decision to join the police force. Ma Tu Tu blames fate for the things that have happened to them but went on to say she has decided not to allow her children to join the police force.

Despite having gone through all those experiences, both U Moe Yan Naing and Ma Tu Tu are still only concerned about one thing:

“He is concerned that no one will dare to tell the truth for fear of meeting the same fate as him.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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