‘It’s unacceptable, we’ve been waiting’: whistleblowing policeman’s release date delayed by weeks after blunder by prison staff



YANGON – The former police captain who was jailed after testifying that his colleagues entrapped two Reuters reporters was not released today as expected because staff at Insein prison miscounted the number of days he has been inside.

Insein prison’s warden, Zaw Zaw, said he mistakenly told Moe Yan Naing’s family he would be released this month when in fact he is due to be freed next month.

“I said he would be freed in January instead of February because our staff counted the days wrong,” he told Myanmar Now.

He added that the mistake came about because Moe Yan Naing was given a reduced sentence. “The number of days for reduced sentences is different from one prisoner to another,” he added.

The former police captain stunned a Yangon court last year by testifying that Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone were set up by police while reporting on the massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys.

His testimony was not enough to get the journalists acquitted; both are now serving seven-year sentences for supposed official secrets violations.

After testifying, Moe Yan Naing was sentenced under the Police Disciplinary Act in April last year.

His family was preparing to welcome him back from prison today and has travelled more than 450 miles from Sagaing region to meet him.

After he was charged, his family was evicted from police housing in Nay Pyi Taw. They now live in Sagaing’s Khin-U township.

“It is unacceptable for a big prison to count the days incorrectly. We’ve been waiting for the day he’ll be released,” Moe Yan Naing’s brother, Ye Wint Naing, told Myanmar Now.

Moe Yan Naing and both jailed reporters have been recognised as political prisoners by the Hanthawady U Win Tin Foundation, which in September awarded grants to support the families of all three men.

Last month PEN Myanmar honoured Moe Yan Naing with its Outstanding Protector of Freedom of Expression award.

(Editing by Joshua Carroll)


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