YANGON — The Yangon Regional High Court on Monday revised the charges against several of the accused in last year’s assassination of U Ko Ni, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy.
“This is not a result of outside speculation. I make this ruling based on [my own] judgment,” Yangon high court judge U Aung Naing said before announcing his decision.
The judge dropped charges relating to the importing/exporting and possession of firearms against accused conspirator Aung Win Zaw. He had been charged under Sections 19 (d) and 19 (f) of the 1878 Arms Act.
He will now face charges of conspiracy to commit murder under Section 302.(1) (b) of the Penal Code along with Kyi Lin, who fatally shot U Ko Ni, and taxi driver U Ne Win.
Additionally, the charge against fellow suspect Zeya Phyo was changed from conspiracy to commit murder to aiding and abetting an offender (from Section 302. (1) (b)/34 to 302. (1) (b)/109).
“Zeya Phyo will have to defend the charge of assisting in the murder, and not for conspiring to commit murder. The penalties for these two charges are much the same,” said prosecuting lawyer U Khin Maung Htay.
Daw Pa Pa Win, a lawyer acting for Ko Zeya Phyo, said she would appeal to the Union Supreme Court to drop the charge against her client.
Gunman Kyi Lin is still faced with a charge of murder and a firearms charge.
Another accused conspirator, Aung Win Tun, is charged under the Penal Code’s Article 212 with harboring an offender. The court granted him bail in March after he deposited 50 million kyats (about US$37,300) as a surety for his release from custody.