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Loudspeaker tirade case stalled over lost evidence

A screenshot of a video of a man ranting against Burma's current leaders that was allegedly broadcast by loudspeaker in July 2016. (Photo: DVB)

The case against a member of Burma’s former ruling party accused of broadcasting obscenities directed at the leaders of the current government has stalled due to the loss of a key piece of evidence, according to prosecutors.

Myo Chit, a local coordinator for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Pegu Division, was charged in late July with using a loudspeaker to broadcast a profanity-laced tirade against Burmese President Htin Kyaw and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since then, however, the case has come to a virtual standstill because of the disappearance of a video file on his phone that was allegedly used to make the offending broadcast.

“We were informed that the file was deleted and the police were under investigation for [losing the] missing evidence. The case has not been able to proceed for two or three months already,” said Aye Thandar, a lawyer for the prosecution.

“It is dubious that the file just went missing,” she added.

Kyaw Kyaw Nyan Win, a local member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) who filed the complaint against Myo Chit, said the video was on the phone when it was confiscated by police.

“Township police chief Maung Maung Soe was present when the loudspeakers and mobile phone were seized from Myo Chit,” he told DVB on Sunday.

“The video file was found in [Myo Chit]’s mobile phone; we have footage of the video being played on that phone where the obscene language can be heard clearly.”

He added that the phone was submitted as evidence to investigators in Naypyidaw on 25 September, but with the video file no longer in the phone’s memory storage.

According to Kyaw Kyaw Nyan Win, Pegu Division’s chief minister has issued a formal order to investigate the Wathtikan police superintendent Tin Win for his handling of the evidence.

Myo Chit has been charged under Article 66(d) of Burma’s 2013 Telecommunications Law, which prohibits the use of electronic devices for harassment.

On Friday, a senior member of the NLD appeared in court facing similar charges after he was accused of attacking the country’s military chief on Facebook.