The Irrawaddy

Singer, Ex-lawyer Face Prosecution for Criticizing Court

MANDALAY — Judges from Mandalay Region have filed separate lawsuits against a singer and a former lawyer for insulting and defaming the court.

Singer Ma Khing @ Ta Tha Tha was sued under the Telecommunications Law, Article 66 (d), for posting a video clip on Facebook that insulted the court in Singu Township, Mandalay divisional judicial authorities said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In the video clip, Ta Tha Tha talks in front of the court in Singu after losing a lawsuit, saying she would rather sit with prostitutes than judges.

“What she posted on Facebook was so harsh; she is not only insulting and defaming the court but also creating a misunderstanding over the judicial system by posting the video, which was widely shared among Facebook users,” said Daw Khin Hla Kyi, a Mandalay district judge.

The judicial officials explained that the singer filed a lawsuit at Singu Court in June 2015 against her ex-son-in-law and 15 others accusing them of stealing property worth more than 43 billion kyats. On Friday, the court rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that the singer had failed to present proper witnesses or concrete evidence.

“The court could not continue the hearing without concrete evidence, so it had to reject the case. The singer can appeal to a higher court in accordance with the law if she wants to proceed with the lawsuit. But she insulted the judge and the court through her Facebook [post], so Judge U Win Zaw Oo filed the lawsuit against her under the Telecommunications Law,” Daw Khin Hla Kyi said.

In a separate incident, a judge from Pyigyitagon Township filed a lawsuit against former lawyer U Zaw Win for throwing a slipper at a sign outside the court and insulting the judge and the court.

U Zaw Win, a former political prisoner and lawyer, was at the court in Pyigyitagon Township to show his support for political activist Ma Zar Zar Tun, who was herself facing a lawsuit under the Defamation Act for insulting the court and a judge.

When the court sentenced Ma Zar Zar Tun to four months’ imprisonment after detaining her without access to her lawyer for a day, an angry and disappointed U Zaw Win threw a slipper at the signboard of Pyigyitagon Court.

“Actually, Ma Zar Zar Tun refused to talk to the court and produced no witnesses, so the judge sentenced her in accordance with the law,” explained Daw Khin Khin Cho, a judicial officer at the Mandalay Region Judiciary Office.

According to the authorities, Ma Zar Zar Tun was sued on March 14 after she shouted and threatened the judge in front of the court to show her disagreement with the court regarding a lawsuit involving her brother-in-law.

“U Zaw Win also insulted the court and the judge, so Daw Su Thet Nguon, the judge from Pyigyitagon Township, filed the lawsuit against him for gravely insulting and defaming the judicial system,” the officer added.

Mandalay Region judicial authorities said they are trying to eliminate misunderstandings over the judicial system and the fight against corruption, so every act that defames or creates misunderstanding shall be prosecuted.