Trial delays to cost Myanmar heartthrob another 6 months in prison: lawyer

Model-actor Paing Takhon has languished behind bars in a notorious Yangon prison because his trial on defamation charges has been delayed months, his lawyer told reporters today.

Due to the proliferation of COVID-19 at at Insein Prison – outbreaks inmates have said the authorities have done little to contain – Paing Takhon’s attorney Khin Maung Myint said his trial, which was facing a now-impossible verdict deadline, has been canceled and will have to start anew. 

“Our previous cross examination has been postponed,” the attorney said on the 174th day of Paing Thakon’s detention following his April arrest. “Everything will have to be planned from the beginning, and we’ll have to figure out how to do it all over again.”

After the February coup, the junta mandated that regular trials be resolved within 180 days. Paing Thakon’s trial began May 4 and therefore must conclude by Nov. 4.

Restarting his trial will mean consigning him and other defendants in the same situation to upward of another six months behind bars.

Those new rules also require court hearings every two weeks.

“Those awaiting trial in prison have expressed their dissatisfaction with the postponement,” Khin Maung Myint added.

Just yesterday he got a new hearing date of Oct. 13  after a three-month delay.

The actor was arrested April 8 at his home in North Dagon, Yangon, and accused of defaming the junta under Section 505(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code. 

The actor, who enjoys a following outside Myanmar, turned 25 behind bars last week.

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