Abducted Kachin Woman was Murdered, Says Lawyer

By Lawi Weng 8 October 2012

A lawyer for the family of Sumlut Roi Ja, the Kachin woman who was abducted by the Burmese army in eastern Kachin State on Oct. 28, 2011, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that he has witnesses’ accounts that attest to the fact that she was shot and killed on that same day.

“We have taken evidence from neighboring farmers who heard a gunshot at the base she was taken to,” said lawyer Mar Khar.

He said that while Roi Ja’s husband and family have waited for nearly a year to find out what happened to her following her abduction by Burmese soldiers, the testimonies mark the first time that anyone has stepped forward to report what everyone had known all along—that Roi Ja had been murdered.

“First, we thought that the court would take action, given the case against the soldiers. But when the army failed to release Roi Ja, we all suspected that she had been killed,” he said.

“The court sided with the military, and it failed Roi Ja and her family,” Mar Khar said. “It accepted the military’s line of defense that the soldiers neither arrested nor detained her.”

In a fair system of justice, the court would investigate the evidence from both sides before making a judgment, he said, adding that her side could prove through eye witnesses that the Mubun farmer had been abducted.

“If our country is to become democratic, it must instill a judicial system that is fair and just, he said.

Burma’s reformist President Thein Sein has formed a human rights commission, yet the rule of law continues to favor the military, according to Mar Khar.

“We have her husband and her father-in-law as witnesses to Roi Ja’s abduction,” said the lawyer. “As for the killing, we have the accounts of neighbors who heard a gunshot.”

After the case was thrown out by the Supreme Court on March 23, it was referred to Chief Minister of Kachin State La John Ngan Hsai, but never investigated further.

Full story of what allegedly happened to Sumlut Roi Ja: http://www.irrawaddy.com/archives/15205