Tag Archives: Burma

Burma: Almost a Year After NLD Adviser’s Murder, Key Suspect Still at Large

December 12, 2017

Image result for u ko ni

As a human rights and constitutional lawyer, U Ko Ni helped others find justice. But for U Ko Ni himself, justice remains elusive.

This coming January will mark the one-year anniversary of his tragic death at Yangon International Airport, where he was shot at close range in broad daylight. But 11 months after his death, Aung Win Khaing, the suspected mastermind of the assassination, is still at large. A statement issued by the President’s Office said the former lieutenant colonel is believed to have hired gunman Kyi Lin to shoot U Ko Ni.

The ex-army officer vanished into thin air after the killing. Four other suspects have been on trial for several months, and as of last week 65 of 80 witnesses have testified. The motive for the murder, according to the national police chief, was a “personal grudge;” he said the alleged conspirators were “resentful” of U Ko Ni’s political activities.

With the murder trial having dragged on now for nearly a year without the main suspect, longtime friends and colleagues of U Ko Ni expressed their disappointment with the Home Affairs Ministry — which controls the country’s police force — for its failure to arrest Aung Win Khaing.




Burma: The Treacherous Burmese Road from Mandalay

November 29, 201




Burma: Suspected plotter in Ko Ni murder drove assassin to the airport: police

September 28, 2017

Aung Win Zaw, one of the suspects accused of plotting the brazen assassination of prominent legal adviser U Ko Ni on January 29, is believed to have played a far more hands-on role than initially thought.

Not only was he involved in masterminding the plan with his brother, fugitive Aung Win Khaing, but he drove the alleged shooter Kyi Lin to the airport himself, according to authorities.

“Police have found that they went to the airport together in the same car before the assassination happened. This finding is a crucial link to prove the relationship between these two suspects in this case,” said Robert San Aung, the lawyer for Ko Ni’s family.

Sub-inspector Kyaw Win Oo testified in court in Yangon on September 22 that the two men “went to the airport together on the day the incident happened.”

Kyi Lin then waited for Ko Ni to come out of the departure area and shot him in the back of the head, killing him instantly, according to the official version of events. He is also accused of fatally shooting Nay Win, a taxi driver who tried to chase him down.

The police arrested Kyi Lin near a cabstand minutes later after a chaotic standoff. Days later, on February 2, they confiscated a Toyota Hilux at Aung Win Zaw’s home in Yangon’s Dawbon Township. This was the vehicle allegedly used to take Kyi Lin to the airport.

Investigators believe that Aung Win Khaing masterminded the assassination and that his brother Aung Win Zaw approached Kyi Lin to carry it out. Two additional suspects, Zeya Phyo and Aung Win Tun, have also been arrested.



Burma/Nobel Prize: Nobel laureate can learn from a taxi driver

September 21, 2017

An assassin shot him in the head at close range as he was about to leave Yangon airport in his family car. He fell to the ground, bleeding.

This was how U Ko Ni, a lawyer and member of the ruling National League for Democracy in Myanmar, was killed on January 29 this year.

“During the shooting, he was holding his grandchild,” said a witness.

Ko Ni was also a prominent human rights campaigner and legal adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi. But he needs to be remembered for many more reasons.

The man was credited with finding the legal and constitutional loopholes that allowed the formation of the State Counsellor’s role and enabled Suu Kyi to become the de facto head of government last year.

Born near Katha in Saigang Division in 1953, Ko Ni was the son of a Muslim man and a Burmese woman. In the early 1900s, his father came to Burma from India through his work with the British-Indian army.

Now Myanmar, Burma back then was considered part of the British-Indian colonial empire. His mother was a Buddhist, and daughter of a Muslim man and a Buddhist woman.

Being a son of an immigrant and a Muslim is not a very good combination in Myanmar.



International Bar Association/China/Turkey/Burma: Human Rights Award 2017 Shortlisted Candidates

Ramazan Demir

Ramazan Demir is a Turkish human rights lawyer, who has in his young career he has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all, and of the Kurdish people in Turkey in particular. Since 2009, Ramazan has continued to represent victims, journalists, and lawyers in the Kurdish areas of Turkey. Unfortunately, due to his valuable human rights work, Ramazan has faced serious personal consequences as criminal charges have been brought against him twice. The second time, in April 2016, Ramazan has been charged with terrorist related activities, because of his work for TUAD (an association for relatives of prisoners in Southeast Turkey). Furthermore, the case-file against him clearly shows that his activities as a human rights lawyer and his relationship with the international human rights community were used as grounds for the accusations against him. Despite the fact that the trial is still on-going, Ramazan took up his work for victims of human rights violations again and continues working for them up until today. The next hearing will be on 13 September 2017. Members of the judging panel noted that in terms of Ramazan’s efforts in the protection and advancement of Human Rights, he has made “significant personal endeavours” and in terms of the international impact and sustainability, Ramazan has made “a high impact on defence work in extremely challenging and threatening circumstances”. Lawyers for Lawyers, the organisation that nominated Ramazan, because they believe he is “a prominent and fearless defender of the rule of law and human rights.”

U Ko Ni

U Ko Ni was an activist, lawyer, author and academic. He worked tirelessly against the military dominance in Myanmar, contributing to the repeal of certain controversial laws and vigorously advocating for the amending of the military drafted 2008 Constitution. The 2008 Constitution reserves 25 percent of parliamentary seats for the military, empowers the military to appoint the ministers of defense, home affairs, and border affairs, and allows the military to dissolve the government during a national emergency. In private conversations, U Ko Ni was frank about the need to reform the 2008 Constitution in order to tackle Myanmar’s most serious problems and to strengthen the rule of law. U Ko Ni also became increasingly concerned about the myriad of ways in which Muslims are marginalised and discriminated in Myanmar and was eager to find ways to make a difference, notably through discussing hate speech and hate crimes in Myanmar and potential solutions. Members of the judging panel noted that he was a “significant advocate for protection of minorities in Myanmar” and had an “outstanding track record.” U Ko Ni was assassinated on 29 January 2017, several INGOs and others condemned the assassination. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), along with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada in their joint statement described U Ko Ni as somebody “who strongly advocated against religious discrimination and for inter-communal peace”, and called for “a prompt, impartial and effective investigation capable of identifying all those responsible and holding them accountable in a fair trial.”

Xie Yang

After an attempt to visit Chen Guangcheng, a laywer who was put under house arrest in Shandong province, which ended in a shocking and violent interception, Xie Yang, at the age of 38, made the decision to become a human rights lawyer. From then on, until his arrest in July 2015, Xie Yang represented dozens of human rights cases, confronted China’s human rights abuses and dictatorial ills, and spoke out fearlessly on China’s social media for his belief in democracy and universal human rights. Xie Yang was arrested during China’s ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in July 2015, and then was subjected to 6 months of secret detention during which time he was cruelly tortured. Last November, 17 months after his arrest, Xie Yang was finally allowed to see his own lawyers where he requested that a thorough description of the torture he had suffered should be published to expose the widespread use of torture in China. The torture revelations marked a turning point, as the international outcry against torture made it impossible for China to continue its planned trials and sentences. The government signalled that it would release Xie Yang in “due time,” while since late February, Xie Yang’s lawyers have been prevented from meeting him. On May 8, Xie Yang was tried, and in the court and on camera he admitted guilty and denied torture. He was released on that day, but except for a couple of appearances in the company of police, he has been disappeared and his wife and relatives have not been able to contact him. Members of the judging panel noted Xie Yang had given an “outstanding personal sacrifice and commitment to the causes of human rights.”


Burma: Conspirator in U Ko Ni Killing Still At Large

August 11, 2017

More than six months after the midday assassination at the Yangon International Airport, Aung Win Khaing—one of the main suspects in National League for Democracy (NLD) legal adviser U Ko Ni’s killing—is still at large, with police staying silent about progress in their search for him.

According to a Yangon Region Police Force press conference on Feb. 25, Aung Win Khaing was last seen near the National Herbal Park in administrative capital Naypyitaw.

U Ko Ni was fatally shot at close range outside the airport upon his return from an official trip abroad on Jan. 29. Police have since arrested four conspirators—Aung Win Zaw, Aung Win Htun, Zeyar Phyo and the gunman Kyi Linn.

The Myanmar Police Force issued an arrest warrant for Aung Win Khaing and sent his photos to Asean police forces and Interpol. But the whereabouts of the wanted man remain unknown.

“A witness testified that Aung Win Khaing was seen at an office in Naypyitaw two days before police searched it on Feb. 12. But the police didn’t testify to that. So, I asked the court to interrogate all of the witnesses, but the court rejected my request,” lawyer U Nay La, who is representing U Ko Ni’s family, told The Irrawaddy.

Police searched the National Herbal Park months ago, but to no avail.  Though police have suggested that Aung Win Khaing is still in the country, they have not publicly revealed progress in their search for him.





https://khmer.voanews.com/a/truth-elusive-in-case-of-assasinated-lawyer-in-myanmar/3977717.html (BURMESE)

Burma: Truth Elusive in Case of Assassinated Lawyer in Myanmar

August 1, 2017

Ko Ni, a slain NLD member and constitutional lawyer.

After the prominent lawyer U Ko Ni was gunned down in broad daylight as he departed Yangon’s airport on January 29, authorities moved quickly, arresting four suspects and later holding a rare news conference to share details about the investigation.

Senior law enforcement officials attributed the motive to “extreme patriotism,” saying the suspects felt “resentful” over Ko Ni’s political work, leading many to believe the lawyer’s efforts to amend the 2008 military-drafted constitution had inspired the plot.

Big questions loom

But six months after the assassination, as the trial drags on in Yangon and the alleged mastermind remains at large, there are more questions than answers, raising concerns whether justice will be done.

“The fundamental question that many are starting to ask is, ‘Do the police really want to find any additional culprits?” Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, said in an email. “Right now, it appears that the investigation is deliberately spinning its wheels and the situation will get worse if something urgently is not done.”