Myanmar Court Jails Three for Incitement Over Show of Support for NLD Lawyer’s Killer

By Htun Htun 16 December 2020

YANGON—A court in Yangon’s Insein Township has sentenced three supporters of the convicted assassin of a National League for Democracy (NLD) legal adviser to one year in prison with hard labor.

The three were among four nationalists who appeared at Yangon’s Northern District Court in February 2018 wearing T-shirts reading “Eat Well!” to show their support for the four men who were then suspects (and were later convicted) in the assassination of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni.

In Burmese, the phrase is used as a threat to show one’s anger and to warn of impending revenge.

Insein Township administrator U Aye Min filed cases against the four T-shirt wearing nationalists with the Insein Township Court, suing them for committing incitement inside the court compound.

The court issued arrest warrants for the four on charges of incitement, under the Penal Code’s Article 505(b), and of threatening injury to a public servant, under Article 189.

Three of the four—Aung Lin, Hein Wei Yan and Myat Phone Moh—were on the run for more than two years and only recently turned themselves in to police.

“The three were given one year’s imprisonment. They have been sent to prison. The fourth one, Tin Htay Aung, was arrested earlier and has already been released after serving his term,” said the head of Insein Township Police Station, Police Captain Tin Latt.

The four used the phrase “Eat Well!” to show support for the detainees: gunman Kyi Lin and co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

Ultranationalist monk U Wirathu also expressed support for gunman Kyi Lin when the monk turned himself in to police in early November after evading arrest for more than a year. The Yangon regional government filed a complaint against him under Article 124(a) of the Penal Code for allegedly attempting to incite disaffection with the Union government in May last year.

The monk is being detained at Insein Prison, but court hearings still cannot be held in his case due to COVID-19 conditions.

However, another notorious nationalist, U Hla Swe, remains a fugitive from justice. Yangon’s Western District Court issued a warrant for his arrest on a sedition charge in August last year after the Yangon regional government filed a case against him under Article 124(a).

In January 2019, the Yangon Northern District Court sentenced hired gunman Kyi Lin—who shot U Ko Ni dead in broad daylight on Jan. 29, 2017 outside Yangon International Airport and then killed taxi driver U Ne Win as the latter tried to apprehend the shooter—to death plus an additional 20 years’ imprisonment for the killings. The Supreme Court of the Union rejected his appeal.

Former Lieutenant Aung Win Zaw, an accomplice of Kyi Lin, was also sentenced to death after he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. Zeya Phyo, a former captain with the Military Intelligence unit, was sentenced to five years in prison with hard labor for causing the disappearance of evidence of an offense. Aung Win Tun was sentenced to a three-year prison term for harboring one of the men.

The alleged mastermind of the killing, former Lieutenant-Colonel Aung Win Khaing, remains at large after fleeing.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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