Rights Commission Warns Govt of Possible Rights Violations Against Reuters Whistleblower

By Htun Htun 24 April 2018

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) has sent a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs in an effort to safeguard the rights of Police Captain Moe Yan Naing, who told a court that Reuters journalists had been entrapped by the police led by Police Brig-Gen Tin Ko Ko, are not violated.

According to his family, Police Cpt. Moe Yan Naing of Police Battalion No. 8 has been detained for more than 120 days without family visits after being accused of passing secret documents regarding Rakhine State to two reporters, who have also been detained since Dec. 12, 2017.

“It is okay that he is not allowed to see his family if it is because the investigation might be hampered by such a meeting. There are rules and regulations. If there is no reason to deny him family visits, then it is a violation of his human rights,” said U Yu Lwin Aung, a member of the MNHRC.

The police captain appeared in court for the first time on April 20 and testified that reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were framed by the police. His family was evicted from police housing in Naypyitaw following his account.

The Protection Committee for Myanmar Journalists (PCMJ) sent a complaint to the MNHRC on April 23 urging the commission to investigate possible human rights abuses against the reporters and the police officer.

However, PCMJ co-founder Ko Tharlun Zaung Htet said that he was disappointed as the letter sent to the ministry by the MNHRC only tackled possible abuses against the police officer, adding that he hoped the commission would do more to protect the public’s basic rights in the future.

The police officer will be charged under the Official Secrets Act and the Police Force Maintenance of Discipline Law, according to a statement released on Dec. 14.

The MNHRC neither has immediate plans to visit the police officer nor his wife, Ma Tu Tu, according to U Yu Lwin Aung.

Translated from Burmese by Myint Win Thein.