The Irrawaddy

Lawyers’ Network Demands Justice for Land Grab Protester Killed by Police 

A press conference organized by the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network (Photo: Thazin Hlaing)

RANGOON — The Myanmar Lawyers’ Network will appeal to the attorney general to reopen the case of a woman who was killed by police after it discovered the case was closed in 2015.

Daw Khin Win was killed by a stray bullet on Dec. 22, 2014 during clashes between police and locals, who were protesting against land seizures near the Letpadaung copper mining project.

Chinese mining firm Wanbao had fenced in the land of farmers who refused to take compensation from the government and the company for their confiscated land.

U Maung Maung Soe, a leading member of the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network, told a press conference at Tawwin Hninzi Hall in Rangoon on Saturday they would seek a court order from the Union attorney general’s office to investigate the case.

“We learned not long ago from the [Monywa] district police officer and the district judicial officer that the case had been closed,” he said. “We asked when and they said since August 12, 2015. It was a long time ago.”

He explained the network would ask for a writ of mandamus—a court order to a lower authority to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.

“We will apply for the writ in the first week of May,” he added.

Fellow network member U Aung Thein said that he could not accept the township police station had closed the case.

“Rather than find out who shot dead [Daw Khin Win], we want to know who ordered the shooting,” he said. “There was the shooting only because someone had given the order. I can’t accept Myanmar Police Force has closed the case irresponsibly.”

Daw Khin Mar Aye, a relative of Daw Khin Win, hopes that the new government would do justice to the case.

“We voted for the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the hope that it would stand by farmers like us against what had happened to us in the time of [President] U Thein Sein,” she said. “We have asked the lawyer’s network for help because we want to see that justice is done.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.