Litigation & Court Procedure

Court refuses to drop Charges against Arakan Politician

Date: 01 June 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Myanmar Times

Yangon, June 1 (MMT) - Rakhine State’s high court has rejected an appeal to dismiss charges filed against Arakan politician U Aye Maung an allegedly anti-government sermon he gave in Rathedaung township on January 15.

After the court hearing Thursday, U Kyaw Nyunt Maung, the defendant’s lawyer, announced the state high court’s rejection of the appeal made on April 28. He said the appeal was based on the court’s decision to prosecute U Aye Maung on several charges for one offense, which the lawyer said was against the law.

U Aye Maung, who resigned this year from the Arakan National Party (ANP), and writer Wai Hin Aung were arrested and charged after they allegedly gave a public talk inviting citizens to join the armed ethnic group in their fight for freedom. 

The charges, which include high treason against the state, defamation and unlawful association, carry a heavy penalty.

“I have no idea why they acted that way without citing any legal provision. The defence team wants to submit an appeal to the Union Supreme Court. However, we will ask for the consent of U Aye Maung,” said the lawyer, who is meeting his client Friday.

“No one can be prosecuted or charged under several laws for a single offense, according to the Interpretation of Expressions Law section 22,” said U Kyaw Nyunt Maung.

According to the 1973 law, if a defendant is found guilty under several legal provisions for one offense, they can be tried and punished under only one of the laws.

The law provides details on the interpretation of criminal laws.

At a ceremony marking the anniversary of the loss of the Rakhine Kingdom held in Pathaedaung township on January 15, U Aye Maung,  who is a Pyithu Hluttaw member for Ann township, and writer U Wai Hin Aung called on the public to resist the government.  

Angered by a ban on the planned commemoration of the loss of the Arakan kingdom more than 200 years ago, thousands of local residents marched through the streets of Mrauk-U on the night of January 16, igniting a violent police reaction.

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