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An Arakanese MP who was recently jailed on charges of criminal intimidation and trespassing has been released after winning an appeal at a district court in western Burma.
Hla Aung Nyunt, the Arakan National Party (ANP)’s Minbya township representative was sentenced to serve a year’s prison term from the end of January after a local court found him guilty of entering the home of a woman who aided his rival candidate from the Union Solidarity and Development Party and threatening her with murder.
He was also stripped of his MP status when he was convicted of the charges.
The ANP’s vice-president Aye Nu Sein, who is also the attorney of Hla Aung Nyunt, told DVB the party filed an appeal for him at Mrauk-U district court which on Monday overturned the guilty verdict.
“The [Mrauk-U] district court overturned the verdict and unconditionally discharged him as there was no evidence to find him guilty,” said Aye Nu Sein.
Hla Aung Nyunt was accused by the plaintiff Oo Mya Kyi of entering her home in Minbya on 30 August last year. He allegedly threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop helping his rival distribute disaster aid in villages affected by floods. Oo Mya Kyi had been involved in the provision of flood relief to Arakan State residents affected by Cyclone Komen, which hit Burma’s west in July 2015.
Sitt Naing, the ANP’s secretary in Minbya, claimed Hla Aung Nyunt was falsely accused and that residents in the town believed he was innocent.
“We filed the appeal as we found the guilty verdict unfair – the whole town knew since the beginning that he was being unjustly accused,” said Sitt Naing.
Hla Aung Nyunt won the elections on 8 November, coming ahead of rival candidates – the USDP’s San Swe Aung, the National League for Democracy’s Khin Maung Win and another candidate from the Chin Democratic Party.
Reporting by Zaw Hka/DVB