Freed Rangoon bomber appeals guilty verdict

Freed Rangoon bomber appeals guilty verdict

Phyo Wei Aung, who was controversially convicted of masterminding a bomb attack in Rangoon in 2010 but recently released from jail, has today appealed to the Supreme Court in Naypidaw to have his guilty verdict overturned.

Phyo Wei Aung, who is at the final stages of liver cancer, has consistently maintained his innocence and accused the police of torturing him into a confession.

His attorney Kyaw Ho delivered a statement before two Supreme Court justices calling for his name to be cleared.

“I testified [in the court] that the police had broken the law in order to get his confession and that the judge also failed to follow procedures to [verify] the confession so it did not qualify as evidence,” Kyaw Ho told reporters.

“I stressed that the guilty verdict, based on a sole confession [with no] additional evidence or a witness’s account, was erroneous.”

Kyaw Ho said that Pyo Wei Aung is determined to pursue the appeal, even though he was released from prison under a presidential pardon earlier this month after meeting with UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Tomas Quintana.

“[Act] 401 means he is being pardoned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was considered innocent of the crime [he was accused of],” his attorney said shortly after his release from prison.

Phyo Wei Aung was unable to travel to the capital for the hearing because he is receiving treatment at Rangoon’s Insein [township] Hospital for liver cancer and is paralysed from the waist down.

“He said he was unjustly treated and that punishing him would allow the real perpetrators to escape so he wanted to clear it up in the courts that he was wrongly charged for crimes he didn’t commit,” said his attorney, adding that court proceedings were likely to last one month.

In an interview with DVB, Phyo Wei Aung said he planned to hold a press conference in the hopes of finally clearing his name.

Phyo Wei Aung was accused of plotting the bombings that rocked Rangoon during the Buddhist New Year’s Water Festival in 2010 and later sentenced to death. His family claimed that authorities secured his confession through torture.

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