Lawsuit Against Myanmar Now Editor Dropped After 2 Years

By Zarni Mann 2 July 2019

MANDALAY—The court in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Township made the decision to drop the lawsuit against Myanmar Now editor Ko Swe Win on Tuesday.

“The judge said the court will not wait for the plaintiff’s witnesses for the future so it dismissed the lawsuit according to the procedures of the court and the instructions of Chief Justice U Tun Tun Oo,” lawyer Daw Ywat Nu Aung told the journalists after the court session.

An application to drop the lawsuit against the Myanmar Now editor was submitted to the court in June.

Referring to ultra-nationalist monk U Wirathu—who himself is facing a lawsuit, is wanted for arrest and still at large—the court said the hearing of the Myanmar Now editor lawsuit had continuously been delayed while waiting for witnesses who repeatedly did not show up for court, the lawyer said.

“The plaintiff’s witnesses failed to present to court despite the court ordering them to present over 20 times. The plaintiff’s lawyer stated the witnesses will come to the court, however the judge said that it can’t wait for them (the plaintiff’s witnesses) who are at large that it decided to drop the case,” said the lawyer.

Myanmar Now editor Ko Swe Win has been on trial facing charges under Article 66 (d) of the notorious Telecommunication Act since July 30, 2017.

He was being sued by nationalist U Kyaw Myo Shwe, who accused him of defaming U Wirathu in his Facebook posts.

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

“I’m glad that the lawsuit which took me over two years and a month is over. I’m thankful to the court for their decision on this lawsuit which has been unjust since the beginning,” said Ko Swe Win after the court session.

In the meantime, U Wirathu is wanted for charges under Myanmar’s sedition laws for spreading hatred against State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the government. He had never presented to the court in Maha Aung Myay court during Ko Swe Win’s trial and remains at large.

Police Lieutenant Kyaw Thu is also facing charges himself under the anti-corruption laws and is still at large after failing to present to court.

When the court session concluded on Tuesday morning, plaintiff Ko Kyaw Myo Shwe shouted that the lawsuit is not over yet because he will submit an appeal to the district court to take the case further.

“This is not the end. This is only the decision of the township court. I will go forward to the district court, the regional court and until Naypyitaw, step by step,” Ko Kyaw Myo Shwe shouted.

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