Daughter of Assassinated Lawyer Testifies

By Tin Htet Paing 18 August 2017

YANGON — Nearly five months into the trial process, Yangon’s northern district court examined the daughter of late National League for Democracy legal adviser U Ko Ni, who was present at the scene when her father was murdered in January.

At the 20th hearing for the trial on Friday, U Ko Ni’s eldest daughter Dr. Yin Nwe Khaing, 34, appeared in court with her family’s lawyer, U Nay La, to present her eyewitness account of the murder. She was the 20th witness so far; a list of more than 80 witnesses has been submitted by the prosecuting lawyer.

It’s been nearly seven months since prominent Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni was shot by gunman Kyi Lin outside Yangon International Airport on the afternoon of Jan. 29. He is survived by his wife and three adult children.

Police have detained four suspects in the murder: Kyi Lin, and alleged co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

An additional man, Aung Win Khaing, is suspected of being the main conspirator in the murder but remains at large. According to a police statement, he is the brother of the two detained suspects Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun, and was last seen in Naypyidaw. Police testified to the court that there is no record that Aung Win Khaing has passed through the country’s border gates since the assassination, but there are no new leads in locating the fugitive.

Dr. Yin Nwe Khaing told the media after the Friday court hearing that the length of time required for the trial process does not matter to her as long as the truth comes out.

“You can’t demand an equal [loss] from the [perpetrator’s] side in a murder,” she said. “Our family will not get back the one who died. So the truth is the only thing we can expect out of this trial.”

Details of who was involved in the conspiracy, and why they did it, must be uncovered, she said, describing it as crucial not only for the country but also for its judicial system.

Lawyer U Nay La told The Irrawaddy that authorities should put forward more effort in locating Aung Win Khaing, and that there have been flaws in the police investigation of the case.

“After two or three more hearings and examinations, the case will be more clear,” U Nay La said. “I believed the fugitive will be arrested before the end of the murder trial,” he added.

The next court hearing will be held at the northern district court on August 25. Shooter Kyi Lin and the three alleged co-perpetrators are being charged under Article 302 of Myanmar’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—Kyi Lin and Aung Win Zaw—are also being charged under Article 19(d) and (f) of the country’s 1878 Arms Act for possession and transportation of illegal arms, in addition to the murder charge.