Military Court Gives Soldiers 10 Years for Murder of 3 Kachin

By Zarni Mann 22 January 2018

MANDALAY — A military court in Mansi Township, Kachin State, sentenced six soldiers to 10 years in prison on Friday for the killing of three Kachin men in May, according to a relative of one of the victims.

“Chief of Staff Major Zeyar Oo, Captain Luan Moe Aung, Captain Kyaw Zin Myint, Lieutenant Myo Thu Zaw, Lance Corporal Shine Htet Aung and Private Phyo Ko were found guilty and they were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor,” said Daw Laphai Nanba, the mother of Maran Brang Seng, one of the dead men.

Relatives of the victims and a few local civil society representatives were invited to the military court for the sentencing, the first time civilians have been invited to observe a military court session.

“We only know they were sentenced like that. We are glad that the guilty are being punished; they deserved it. However, the army should give us compensation as well because our family members were the ones who looked after us,” Maran Brang Seng said.

The relatives and civil society representatives said they wanted to know which prison the soldiers will be sent to so that they can make sure they are serving their sentences.

“Although it is fair enough and the military court was more transparent with this case, we also want to know at which prison they will have to serve their prison terms,” said a civil society representative who asked to remain anonymous because the army told him not to speak to the media.

“We want to make sure they really serve the prison terms according to the law,” he said. “We also hope that the army will stop its brutal actions in the future to avoid such sad and cruel incidents.”

Nhkum Gam Awng, 31, Maran Brang Seng, 22, and Labya Naw Hkum, 27, from the Maihkawng camp for internally displaced people in Mansi, were arrested by Battalion 319 on May 25.

Their bodies were found on May 28. Within days, the office of the military’s commander-in-chief announced that it was launching an investigation into the deaths.