Yangon Court To Retry Suspects for Murder of Facebook Comedian

By Zue Zue 9 October 2018

YANGON—The Yangon Eastern District Court will retry the murder case against three men accused of beating Facebook comedian Aung Yell Htwe to death.

“According to Section 351 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, witnesses will be summoned again and the case will be heard again from the very beginning,” the joint judge of the court said on Tuesday.

The Anti-Corruption Commission last month filed a lawsuit against the former Yangon Region attorney general, a judge of the Yangon Eastern District Court, and a number of other law officers accused of taking bribes from the father of a suspect in exchange for their roles in dropping the case.

The commission said law officers intentionally built the murder case in such a way that it would be adjudged as lacking sufficient grounds to warrant further investigation, and that the since-removed regional attorney general approved a request from the victim’s family to drop the case without making a full assessment.

Suspects Than Htut Aung, Pyae Phyo Aung and Kyaw Zaw Han were handed over by their families to police at Thuwunna Police Station in Yangon on Sept. 26, after being controversially freed by the court in late July.

There are a total of 22 prosecution witnesses. Three of them, including the plaintiff, will be heard at the next trial hearing scheduled for Oct. 16. Trial sessions will be held every Tuesday, the joint magistrate said.

The Eastern District Court previously dropped the case after questioning only 14 of 22 witnesses. These included three friends of the suspects; employees of The One Entertainment, where Aung Yell Htwe was beaten to death in January 2018; plaintiff Ko Thant Zin, the victim’s elder brother; and the father and girlfriend of the victim.