Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ross Dunkley denied bail at fifth court hearing

Thursday, 24 March 2011 10:46 Te Te

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Hearings and more hearings. At the fifth hearing in the case against the Australian founder of the Myanmar Times, Ross Dunkley, a Burmese court on Wednesday again denied him bail and set a sixth hearing for Tuesday, March 29.

Ross Dunkley, the founder of the Myanmar Times, attended
his fifth court hearing in Rangoon on Wednesday, where he
was denied bail and remanded to Insein Prison. A sixth
hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, March 29.
Photo : Mizzima
At that hearing, a forensic doctor and an investigating police officer are expected to testify before the Kamaryut Township Court, and lawyers for the state and defense will present  arguments on whether the charges against Dunkley should be dropped, according to Wai Lin, a spokesperson for the Myanmar Times.

Dunkley has been charged with violating the Immigration Act, assaulting a woman, giving her drugs and holding her against her will.

Court observers said Dunkley appeared to be in good health when he appeared in court and that he has been allowed visits from friends at Insein Prison once a week. He is being held in the hospital compound, sources said.

Dunkley was arrested on February 10 and taken to Insein Prison the next day. Dunkley’s business associates said in an earlier statement that the alleged female victim testified in a previous hearing that she wished to withdraw her complaint that alleged she had been drugged by Dunkley but the Burmese authorities would not allow the complaint to be withdrawn.

The CEO of Myanmar Consolidated Media, Dr. Tin Tun Oo, and a colleague have agreed to act as bail guarantors for Dunkley.

Originally from Perth, Australia, Dunkley was the first foreigner to enter the Burmese domestic newspaper market in 2000 when he joined forces with Sonny Shwe, the son of a close ally of then military intelligence chief and junta prime minister, Khin Nyunt. Less than a year after Khin Nyunt’s purging from the military junta, Sonny Shwe was arrested and new Burmese co-owners took over his stake in the paper.

Rangoon media observers said that Dunkley and the Myanmar Times’ new CEO, Dr. Tin Tun Oo, were involved in a business dispute at the time of his arrest. Tin Tun Oo was named the new CEO four days after Dunkley’s arrest. Dunkley retains a 49 percent ownership in the English-language newspaper. He is also the publisher of The Phnom Penh Post.

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