January 29, 2018
Lawyer groups marked the first anniversary of U Ko Ni’s assassination on Sunday with a call for the swift punishment of his accused murderers.
The Myanmar Lawyers Network, Yangon Lawyer Association and Media Lawyers Network collected memorial donations for the prominent Muslim lawyer, as well as for taxi driver Ko Nay Win, who were gunned down outside Yangon International Airport on January 29, 2017.
Police have detained four suspects: gunman Kyi Lin and alleged co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun. Their trial began ten months ago, but, after 40 hearings, there is still no verdict.
“Even though the murder was a year ago, the main suspect is still at large. It is essential that he be arrested so that the trial can finish,” said U Robert San Aung, a lawyer and member of the Myanmar Lawyers Network.
Police allege that former military Lieutenant Colonel Aung Win Khaing, who remains at large, was the mastermind of the assassination.
A year ago, #HRD U Ko Ni was shot and killed by a gunman at the international airport in Yangon. Police have detained four suspects and a trial has been ongoing for the past 10 months but, after 40 hearings, there is still no verdict.
Front Line condemns the killing of U Ko Ni and maintains the call for authorities in Myanmar to:
1. Carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of human rights defender U Ko Ni, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Myanmar are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
U Ko Ni was a human rights defender and human rights lawyer. He was the legal advisor for the National League for Democracy and participated in the pro-democracy protests known as the 88 Uprising and was a former political prisoner. Upon release, he became actively involved in the interfaith peace movement and advocated for the rights of Muslim citizens in Myanmar. He strongly opposed the country’s race and religion protection bill which was introduced in August 2015 and which restricted interfaith marriage and caused a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment. In 2016, he helped found the Myanmar Muslim Lawyers Association. He also wrote six books on good governance and various human rights issues.
Read more about U Ko Ni here: https://hrdmemorial.org/hrdrecord/u-ko-ni/
Take action: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/action/take-action-u-ko-ni
(Front Line Defenders Facebook)