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The defence attorney providing legal counsel to a group of Rohingya in Arakan state’s Sittwe claims the general-secretary of the Rakine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) has threatened him for representing members from the Muslim minority.
Hla Myo Myint, who is representing seven Rohingya facing multiple charges including rioting and disturbing government officials after they refused to register as “Bengalis” at a displacement camp near the state capital, said the RNDP’s Khine Pyi Soe and a group of men first approached him when he was leaving the Sittwe courthouse on 12 July.
According to the lawyer, the posse allegedly surrounded him as he was leaving the court and proceeded to follow him to his hotel after he fled the scene in a UN vehicle.
At the hotel, the group then threatened Hla Myo Myint and tried to get the hotel staff to kick him out of the establishment.
“We were surrounded by the RNDP’s Khine Pyi Soe and his company and had to leave the [courthouse] in the UN OHCHR (Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights) regional representative’s car,” said Hla Myo Myint.
“I went back to the Sittwe Hotel and in about half an hour, a group of seven men including Khin Pyi Soe showed up and took photos of me. They threatened me and said to stop following the case and also pressured the hotel staff to kick me out.”
While Hla Myo Myint said he has no plans to press charges against the RNDP, the lawyer has filed a formal request to Burma’s supreme court on 18 July asking to relocate the trial to Rangoon.
The RNDP general- secretary Khine Pyi Soe rejected the allegations and claimed that the military affairs security and police’s special intelligence department personnel were present at the scene.