Tag Archives: Burma

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.”

https://www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/IBA-Human-Rights-Award.aspx

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://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/conspirator-u-ko-ni-killing-still-large.html

https://www.irrawaddy.com/in-person/power-dangerous-thing.html

http://thediplomat.com/2017/08/myanmars-media-in-chains/

https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/daughter-assassinated-lawyer-testifies.html

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.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/truth-elusive-in-case-of-assassinated-lawyer-in-myanmar/3967447.html

Burma: Two policemen testify in lawyer Ko Ni’s assassination trial

July 15, 2017

Arriving at court. Photo: Mizzima

Two policemen who were deeply involved in arresting assassin Kyi Lin, who shot lawyer Ko Ni at Yangon International Airport, testified in the court on July 14 as prosecuting witnesses.

Four suspects including the gunman Kyi Lin appeared at the Yangon North District court on July 14. In the court, the two policemen Naing Aung and Thet Arkar Soe testified as prosecution witnesses.

During the assassination, taxi driver Nay Win who tried to chase down the gunman Kyi Lin was also killed by the gunman.

Lawyer Robert San Aung, who represents the family members of taxi driver Nay Win, said, “The two policemen were involved in trying to arrest the suspect Kyi Lin. Their testimonies could provide links.”

http://www.mizzima.com/news-domestic/two-policemen-testify-lawyer-ko-nis-assassination-trial

http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/ko-ni-supporters-criticise-trial-of-accused

http://thediplomat.com/2017/07/why-myanmars-suu-kyi-has-failed-on-media-freedom/

https://www.cfr.org/blog-post/nld-led-government-myanmar-looks-eerily-familiar-press-freedom

Burma: U Ko Ni murder trial to begin without chief suspect

June 26, 2017

Image result for Aung Win Khaing.

The Yangon North District Court has announced that the trials of four suspects in the murder of lawyer U Ko Ni will begin without Aung Win Khaing, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the alleged assassination.

Prosecutor U Kay La told Eleven after the last hearing on Friday that although Myanmar has enlisted the help of Interpol and Asean, Aung Win Khaing remains a fugitive. Some reports claim that the ringleader is hiding near Naypyidaw.

The prosecution intends to call as many as 80 witnesses during the trial, but U Kay La has said the most important factor in the case will be whether the authorities can get their hands on Aung Win Khaing.

U Nay La recently told Frontier that he believes authorities should focus on identifying a driver who allegedly drover Aung Win Khaing to Naypyidaw the day after the murder.

The other suspects in the case are Kyi Lin, Aung Win Zaw, Zeyar Phyo, Aung Win Tun.

Kyi Lin shot U Ko Ni at close range on January 29, shortly after the lawyer arrived in Yangon from a trip to Indonesia as part of a delegation led by Myanmar’s minister of information.

U Ko Ni died on the spot, and a taxi driver named Nay Win was also shot and killed while trying to apprehend Kyi Lin.

https://coconuts.co/yangon/news/u-ko-ni-murder-trial-begin-without-chief-suspect/

https://coconuts.co/yangon/news/buddhist-nationalists-demand-resignation-religious-affairs-minister/

Burma: Ko Ni supporters criticise trial of accused

June 23, 2017

Frontier Myanmar

The chief suspect in the assassination of lawyer U Ko Ni remains at large, while supporters of the late National League for Democracy adviser have criticised the trial of those suspects who have been arrested.

Police have so far detained four men in connection with the brazen killing, which took place at Yangon International Airport on January 29, but U Aung Win Khaing, who police believe was the main figure behind the operation, has not been arrested. Media reports suggest he is in hiding around Nay Pyi Taw but authorities say they have not yet been able to locate him.

“The most important thing in this case is to find Aung Win Khaing,” said lawyer U Nay La, who told reporters he was supporting Ko Ni’s family throughout the trial. “In my personal view, the entire testimony is not sufficient,” he said in relation to the trial of the four suspects, the latest hearing of which took place at Insein court on Friday.

Nay La believes the key to finding Aung Win Khaing is identifying a driver who, he said, drove the suspect to Nay Pyi Taw on January 30, the day after the killing.

“I think that the driver should be examined in further sessions,” he said.

http://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/ko-ni-supporters-criticise-trial-of-accused

http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/crime/10205

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/12737/l4l-oral-statement-on-myanmar/

Burma: No justice for slain Myanmar lawyer Ko Ni

June 17, 2017

This photograph taken on November 10, 2013 shows Muslim lawyer Ko Ni delivering a public address on amending Myanmar's 2008 constitution, as senior National League for Democracy (NLD) party patron Tin Oo (R) listens, in Yangon.   Thousands of mourners gathered on January 30, 2017 to bury Ko Ni, a top Muslim lawyer and adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi, who was gunned down outside Yangon airport in what the ruling party called a political assassination. / AFP PHOTO / Hong Sar

Contributor Bertil Lintner knew intimately the ruling National League for Democracy’s top legal advisor and his plan to enact a more democratic constitution

Four months since Ko Ni, one of Myanmar’s most prominent and talented lawyers, was assassinated in broad daylight outside Yangon’s airport and local authorities are not any closer to solving the case. The gunman, Kyi Lin, was apprehended only because furious taxi drivers parked outside the airport chased and apprehended him.

An antique smuggler from Mandalay, Kyi Lin had obviously been hired to kill on the fateful day of January 29. But the person who has been named as the possible mastermind of the plot, a former army officer known as Aung Win Khaing, vanished without a trace in the capital Naypyitaw after the killing — quite a feat given the military-built city’s vast, almost empty streets and scattered building complexes.

The ineptitude of the investigation has been matched only by misleading reports in the Western media. Nearly all major Western publications, including the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post, dwelled on Ko Ni’s religion, Islam, as a probable motive.

The Economist called Ko Ni a “prominent defender of religious minorities”, while the Financial Times described him as “one of Myanmar’s most prominent Muslim voices.” The BBC even linked their account of the killing to its previous reports on the persecution of minority Muslim Rohingyas in western Rakhine State.

http://www.atimes.com/article/no-justice-slain-myanmar-lawyer-ko-ni/

http://www.lrwc.org/oral-statement-interactive-dialogue-with-the-special-rapporteur-on-myanmar-joint-oral-statement-to-the-35th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/

http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/the-patriots-exploiting-religion-who-want-a-return-to-junta-rule