Myanmar: Judge accepts policeman’s testimony in Reuters case

- REUTERS, YANGON

May 3, 2018-

A judge in Myanmar declared on Wednesday that a witness who said two Reuters reporters accused of possessing state secrets were framed by police was credible, dealing a blow to the prosecution in what has become a landmark press freedom case.

In what defence lawyers said was a key ruling in favour of the two reporters, the judge accepted the testimony of Police Captain Moe Yan Naing, who said a senior officer had ordered police to “trap” one of the two journalists arrested in December.

Defence lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said the judge ordered police to bring Moe Yan Naing to the next hearing on May 9, after a police officer told the court he was not present because he was sentenced last week to one year in prison for violating the Police Disciplinary Act.

“We need to question him more,” Judge Ye Lwin told Police Captain Myo Lwin, one of the officers who had escorted the two journalists to the courthouse, at the end of the proceedings.

Prosecutors had called Moe Yan Naing to testify against Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, but last week asked the court to declare him an unreliable witness after the account he gave about the reporters being “set up” appeared to undermine their case. “Today, the court has proved itself as a court of justice,” defence lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told reporters at the end of the hearing, adding that the ruling was “a big step” because Moe Yan Naing’s testimony supported the accounts given by the reporters.

Published: 03-05-2018 08:37

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