RANGOON — The family of a man allegedly killed by police in Arakan State earlier this year claims to have been offered large sums of money not to interfere with what appears to be a compromised case against the three constables facing murder charges.
Tin Ohn Kyaw, the son-in-law of the victim’s sister, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that relatives of one or more of the accused had recently approached family members of the deceased and “said they can pay more than 10,000,000 kyats [US$7,680].”
Fisherman Aung Chan Nu died while in police custody in September on Maday Island, Arakan State. A community activist told The Irrawaddy at the time that three inebriated off-duty officers were accused of beating the man after he refused to help them dock their schooner.
The suspects allegedly transported the injured man to the local police station, where his condition deteriorated overnight. Aung Chan Nu died in transit to Kyaukphyu General Hospital the following morning.
The three constables have been in detention since their arrest in late September, pending a resolution to their trial. Kyaukphyu police chief Win Kyi told The Irrawaddy that their legal proceedings officially began on Friday.
The case was originally filed as a fatal accident, but charges were later changed to murder after medical records were submitted to the court indicating that the deceased may have been violently assaulted.
In October, the victim’s family also claimed to have been approached by the uncle of one of the accused, who offered them money to “negotiate” the case. The victim’s sister, Nu Phu Khine, told The Irrawaddy at the time that “My young brother’s life is more valuable than money, I will never accept it.”
The case has caused widespread concerns among the local community, several of whom expressed to The Irrawaddy that they believed corruption of the police and the court system could result in injustice.