January 21, 2019
Yangon Northern District Court has set February 1 for final arguments by defence lawyers in the long-running trial of four people accused over the killing of lawyer and constitutional expert U Ko Ni two years ago.
The final arguments will follow testimony from the defendants’ witnesses.
Ko Ni, a legal adviser to the National League for Democracy, was shot dead outside Yangon International Airport on January 29, 2017.
The court had scheduled defence witness Police Colonel Win Min Thein, who is involved in airport security, to testify on January 18 about an alleged meeting with suspected co-conspirator in the killing, Aung Win Zaw, and accused mastermind Aung Win Khine, at about the time Ko Ni was shot.
However, Win Min Thein, who failed to appear for a second time on January 18, told the court by letter that he did not want to testify because he did not know everything about the case. The court then decided to have Win Min Thein removed from the list of defence witnesses, despite objections from Aung Win Zaw’s lawyer, U Aung Khine.
Aung Khine told the court on January 18 that Win Min Thein was a key witness for the defendant and removing him as a witness would harm the defence case. Aung Win Zaw has testified that he went to the airport on January 29, 2017, to meet Win Min Thein. “He [Win Min Thein] can explain why Aung Win Zaw came to the airport,” Aung Khine said. “But I can’t urge him to testify for the defendant.”