Kyauktada court pressured by local officials

Feb 5, 2009 (DVB), Court officials and defendants standing trial in Bago division’s Kyauktada township court are growing frustrated by local authorities interfering in cases to influence the verdicts.

Htun Zaw, a villager from Phado in Kyauktada township, sued a member of the village Peace and Development Council in last November for verbally abusing him.

After the official was fined 200 kyat by the court, village PDC secretary Nyunt Thein countersued Htun Zaw, alleging he had attempted to physically hurt the PDC member.

Htun Kyi, father of Htun Zaw, said Kyauktada township PDC chair Myo Tint had taken a bribe from the village PDC member and was now pressuring the judge Hla Myat Mon to jail the defendant.

"The judge wanted the trial to be fair but the TPDC chairman has been repeatedly putting pressure on her to just jail my son," said Htun Kyi.

Htun Kyi said now the family is trying to transfer the case to the higher-level Bago township court to avoid interference from the Kyauktada TPDC on the advice of the judge.

"General Thura Shwe Mann of the State Peace and Development Council said no one should be above the law , but in Kyauktada, the TPDC is above the law, I have witnessed this myself in the past three days," he said.

Htun Zaw called on the government to prevent corruption from destroying the reputation of the courts.

"I have seen a lot of people in a similar situation to me be thrown into prison and I can see that a lot of people, including me, are going to end up the same way in the future," Htun Zaw said.

"I ask our government leaders to stop these things from happening," he said.

"I want my country to prove to the world that our justice system is still reliable."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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