USDP assailants fined $0.50

Two members of Burma’s recent election-winning party who assaulted a man shortly after casting votes on 7 November have been fined 500 kyat by a Rangoon court.

The apparently meek punishment has angered the family of Moe Win, who were required to pay 10,000 kyat ($US10) to file a complaint about the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) members, identified as Myint Naing and Win Hlaing.

Moe Win’s sister said that in all, the family spent around 30,000 kyat ($US30) on legal fees in order to bring the assailants, whom she claimed were drunk at the time, in front of authorities.

“Moe Win was waiting for a friend after casting the votes when Myint Naing and Win Hlaing arrived and beat him up – one of them held him and the other punched him,” she said.

“A police van arrived at the scene when they were punching him but left without doing anything when they saw [that it was USDP] members doing it.”

The motive behind the attack was unclear, she said, but speculated that it may have something to do with the votes Moe Win cast.

“My brother didn’t know how to vote so he ticked three marks on the ballot. Maybe [the USDP attackers] were disappointed with that,” she said.

Police had claimed that the case was not within their remit, and so transferred it to a township court which demanded the 10,000 kyat. Moe Win’s sister said the family was left exasperated at the 500 kyat fine given to the two men.

The USDP, which won close to 80 percent of the votes in the November elections, is believed to have millions of members, many of whom were leftovers from the party’s previous incarnation, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), the Burmese junta’s so-called civil society organisation which is believed to have been behind the 2003 Depayin Massacre.

Critics of the ruling junta claim that Burma’s judicial system lacks independence from the generals. Burma was awarded the penultimate spot in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index this year.

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