Court Rejects New Arrest Warrant in U Ko Ni Murder Trial

By Tin Htet Paing 19 May 2017

RANGOON — The Rangoon Division High Court rejected a petition from a lawyer in the U Ko Ni murder trial requesting a new arrest warrant be issued in Naypyidaw for fugitive Aung Win Khaing on Friday.

Lawyer U Nay La—representing the family of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) assassinated legal adviser U Ko Ni—presented the criminal revision to the divisional court on April 28.

Aung Win Khaing is suspected of involvement in the murder but remains at large. He was last seen in Naypyidaw, according to CCTV footage.

Prominent Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni was shot by gunman Kyi Lin outside Yangon International Airport on the afternoon of Jan. 29. Police have put forward four suspects: gunman Kyi Lin, and alleged co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

Lawyer U Nay La initially requested that the northern district court issue the warrant in Naypyidaw in March, but the court ruled against the move.

Last month at the divisional court, he claimed that the district court has been handling the case “carelessly” and is “weak” in examining the case surrounding the fugitive in accordance with designated procedures.

“We still don’t know the reason why the court rejected our request to issue a new arrest warrant,” U Nay La told the media after the Friday’s court hearing at the divisional court.

“There are different legal perspectives between our side and the court,” he said. “We will consult with our legal team for the next move.”

The next court hearing will be held at the northern district court on May 26.

According to U Nay La, a police order dated Feb. 15 calling for the arrest of Aung Win Khaing was sent to only six of the force’s stations—in Dawbon, Thaketa, Bahan, Mingaladon, Gyobingauk, and Meiktila townships.

The first warrant issued by the district court on Mar. 3—before the trial—only covered Aung Win Khaing’s home address in Rangoon’s Dawbon Township.

He said that an arrest warrant that only allows for a fugitive to be apprehended at his permanent address is unfitting for the situation.

Referring to the police reports, he said that Aung Win Khaing had not passed through the country’s border gates since the assassination and that a new arrest warrant covering where the fugitive was last seen should be issued.

Shooter Kyi Lin and three alleged co-perpetrators—Aung Win Zaw, Aung Win Khaing and Zeya Phyo—are being charged under Article 302 of Burma’s Penal Code for murder.

Zeya Phyo, a former military intelligence officer, is also charged under Article 67 of the Telecommunications Law for the possession of restricted telecommunications equipment and Article 468 of the Penal Code for the forgery of national identity cards.

Two of the suspects—gunman Kyi Lin and alleged co-conspirator Aung Win Zaw—are being charged under Article 19(d) and (f) of the country’s 1878 Arms Act for illegal arms possession and transportation, in addition to the murder charge.