Kyaw Myint says he returned to Myanmar because he wasn’t on blacklist

United Democratic Party (UDP) chair Kyaw Myint told a court in Mandalay’s Chan Aye Tharzan township on Friday that he returned to Myanmar eight years ago because he was informed that he was not on a government blacklist.

Kyaw Myint, whose party was dissolved last week after it was found to be in possession of illegal funds, was indicted on Tuesday for absconding from prison 21 years ago. 

He told the court that after he relocated to China from Canada in 2012, he inquired at a Myanmar consulate about the possibility of returning to the country. He said a consul named Zaw Phyo Win informed him that he wasn’t blacklisted, despite being a fugitive from the law.

Once he learned that he was not barred from returning, he decided to reenter Myanmar through the border town of Muse in Shan state, he said.

At a press conference on October 10, President’s Office spokesperson Zaw Htay said that records showed Kyaw Myint later settled in Ottarathiri, a town in Naypyitaw, where he opened a UDP office.

At the hearing on Friday, Kyaw Myint also said that the prison sentence he received in 1998 was no longer valid because it was given while the country was under military rule.

He also claimed that he did not escape from Mandalay’s Obo prison, but merely left after a police officer walked with him to a monastery where two monks met him and decided to escort him to the border town of Myawaddy by car because they thought he did not belong in prison.

A lawyer for Kyaw Myint, who has been charged under article 224 of the penal code for escaping from Obo prison in 1999, called six character witnesses for the court hearing on Friday. 

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