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A high court in Mandalay yesterday rejected a motion by the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) secretary Nyan Win to drop a libel suit filed by the country’s election commission.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) filed a lawsuit against Nyan Win after he accused them of carrying out voter fraud in last year’s by-elections.
Mandalay Division’s High Court also dismissed two lawsuits that Nyan Win filed against the Messenger and Pyi Myanmar weekly news journals. He accused them of contempt of court for publishing op-eds, written by legal expert Ko Oo, which claimed that the NLD secretary was guilty of libel before an investigation had been carried out.
“Previously, we submitted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against U Nyan Win under article 182 of the Penal Code for making allegations about the waxing of ballots during the by-elections and also filed two lawsuits against the Messenger and Pyi Myanmar journals that published an article by Ko Oo,” said said Kyaw Hoe, Nyan Win’s attorney.
“We alleged that publishing the article was contempt of court – but those were dismissed. So we lost in all the cases.”
According to Nyan Win’s attorney, the article said the spokesperson made allegations about the UEC’s involvement in the waxing of ballots, even though he knew the claims were untrue.
“We see that as contempt of court as the writer was making the claim before the court was yet to [arrive] at any verdict,” said the attorney.
Nyan Win plans to file appeals to the Supreme Court in Naypyidaw.
During the April by-elections, Nyan Win filed complaints to the UEC alleging that ballots in several constituencies were coated with wax, which would effectively invalidate votes.
The UEC formed a tribunal to investigate the claims and reported that the ballots were made with poor quality paper but were not necessarily coated in wax.
The NLD had tried to file 11 suits against election commission members for alleged foul play during the by-elections; however, the party’s officials abandoned the charges after getting caught up in a web of red tape.