Friday, 15 November 2019

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Aung Min called to testify in Mahn Nyein Maung case


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The lawyer for Karen leader Pado Mahn Nyein Maung on Thursday asked the court to call peacemaking team leader and Railway Minister Aung Min as a defence witness in a case involving a charge of high treason.

Mahn Nyein Maung at a KNU ceremony, in a file photo. Photo: MizzimaLawyer Kyee Myint told Mizzima that he applied to the Insein special tribunal to call a total of eight defence witnesses including Aung Min, senior officers of the Military Affairs Security section, and military commanders.

“If the court refuses to call these defence witnesses, then we must present our final arguments next week,” he said.

Public prosecutors examined Pado Mahn Nyein Maung for about three hours on Thursday, Kyee Myint said.

Pado Mahn Nyein Maung testified that he was a KNU central committee member, he had fought for the KNU’s national cause, and for peace and human rights for the all people.

He told the court today that he played a role in earlier KNU peace talks, but the government had failed to take the talks seriously and only wanted the KNU to surrender. His lawyer said Mahn Nyein Maung testified that, “If they would really give rights to the armed groups, then they would not need to fight with them as the armed groups also want peace. If peace can be restored, cooperation with the government is possible,”

The government authorities arrested Mahn Nyein Maung at Rangoon airport on July 24, 2011, when he arrived from Kunming, China. He was charged with having a forged visa stamp on his passport.

He was prosecuted on September 2 for forgery and violation of the Immigration Act, sentenced to six months imprisonment for each case, and ordered to serve the sentences. Twenty-two days before his release was due, he was prosecuted again on January 2, 2012, for violating the Unlawful Association Act and section 122(1) of the Penal Code covering high treason.

On January 12, the KNU signed a cease-fire agreement with the government, and asked for the release of all KNU members from prison.

Mizzima reported earlier his lawyer said the important evidence used by the prosecution were documents they discovered on the Internet, which he said does not qualify as concrete proof of guilt.

“We questioned the court over whether they would accept in a trial if we submitted material from the Internet as evidence against [the government,” Kyee Myint said. “At the end of the hearing, the court decided to throw out the [internet material] as evidence – that is exceptional.”

Prior to his arrest, Mahn Nyein Maung had taken leave from the KNU on a personal matter and he had lost connections with the KNU, sources said.

Mahn Nyein Maung was arrested by former dictator Ne Win’s government in 1967 as a Karen youth leader and was sent to a prison camp on Koko Island. He and two prison mates tried to flee by boat, but were captured. Later, under the pen name “Yebaw Shaung,” he wrote about his adventures in the book “Against the storm, Across the Sea.”
 

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