Burma

Autopsy Results Reveal Five Bullet Wounds on Slain Journalist’s Body

By Nyein Nyein 6 November 2014

The wife of slain journalist Aung Kyaw Naing said that autopsy results on Thursday had found five bullet wounds on her husband’s body.

One of the bullet wounds was located on his jaw, two to his chest and two to his leg, she told reporters at Moulmein hospital after she was briefed by the doctor.

The body of Aung Kyaw Naing was exhumed on Wednesday afternoon from a grave in Shwe War Chaung village in Mon State’s Kyaikmayaw Township.

Ma Thandar told The Irrawaddy that doctors had allowed her to closely inspect the corpse.

“The bones in his head were crushed, but his skin looked normal and had no signs of being burned,” she said. “His jawbones were broken and his teeth were not in good shape.”

Before the autopsy results, Ma Thandar, who is a prominent women’s activist, expressed doubt that the injuries on her husband’s body were bullet wounds.

“I looked at the corpse carefully today and though I am not a forensic expert, what I am sure about is that there is no wounds related to gunfire [on his body].”

She added that a hole in his chest was like a long scratch, not circular. “When I looked at his back to make sure it was his body, I did not see any [bullet] holes.”

Ma Thandar said the family was given permission to carry the corpse for a proper burial in Rangoon after the examination in Moulmein hospital. However, there was some resistance from local monks who did not want the corpse to be taken outside the region.

“While we were outside waiting for X-rays of the body, a total of eight monks came and objected to me carrying the corpse,” Ma Thandar said. “The head of the hospital and [township] officials first told me not to take the body as it had been over a month and might smell. But I had already brought the coffin… I said that I would put him in and wouldn’t open it. Then they allowed me to carry it.”

The Burma Army claimed that Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, was shot dead after attempting to flee custody. The military issued the statement three weeks after his death, after Ma Thandar had raised the case with local authorities and military officials.

President Thein Sein last week tasked the country’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with investigating the case.

The commission’s secretary Sitt Myaing told The Irrawaddy that the investigation was ongoing, and the commission still needed to interview army officials.

Three NHRC members and their support staff interviewed witnesses in Kyaikmayaw this week and began making inquiries with troops in Moulmein on Thursday.

Sitt Myaing was present at the exhumation on Wednesday but declined to comment on the state of the body. “We have to wait for the autopsy report from the hospital,” he said.

Sitt Myaing added that the commission would assess whether the freelance journalist had links with the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), as the Burma Army claimed. The DKBA has rejected the military’s allegations.

The commission’s report would be publicized as soon as possible, Sitt Myaing said. “We won’t delay the case [and will issue findings] as soon as the inquiries are done.”

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