Burma

Witness in Murder Trial of Facebook Comedian Contradicts Statement to Police

By Zue Zue 28 November 2018

YANGON — A prosecution witness in the high-profile murder trial of a popular comedian has told the court that he did not see the suspects attack the victim, contradicting his statement to police.

Ko Aung Yell Htwe, a popular comedian on Facebook, was beaten and kicked by a group of men in One Entertainment Park in Thuwunna Township during a New Year’s celebration on Dec. 31. He underwent surgery at Yangon People’s Hospital for his injuries but died on Jan. 2.

Three suspects — Ko Than Htut Aung, Ko Pyae Phyo Aung and Ko Kyaw Zaw Han — were detained in connection with his death.

The Yangon Eastern District Court heard testimony on Tuesday from Ko Kaung Myat Lin, a friend of the three murder suspects, and U Ohn Thwin, the administrator of Thuwunna Township’s Ward 24.

Ko Kaung Myat Lin said he was with Ko Kyaw Zaw Han the entire time they were at the park, offering an alibi for the accused.

Answering questions from Ko Kyaw Zaw Han’s lawyer, he said that when a fight broke out on the VVIP stage he pulled Ko Kyaw Zaw Han down from the stage. He said Ko Than Htut Aung and Ko Pyae Phyo Aung also ran off the stage and left the park.

Ko Kaung Myat Lin said he had known the three suspects for about three years.

His testimony contradicted the statement he gave earlier to police claiming that he saw the three suspects either hitting or kicking Ko Aung Yell Htwe on the stage.

At the last hearing on Nov. 20, Ko Kyaw Zaw Han’s girlfriend, Ma Aye Chan Myint, also testified that they were together during all their time at the park and that he was not involved in the attack on Ko Aung Yell Htwe.

To date 15 of 22 prosecution witnesses have appeared in court, including friends of the suspects, the victim’s brother, parents and girlfriend and the manager and security staff at the park. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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