RANGOON — The body of Aung Kyaw Naing, a journalist who was allegedly killed and buried by the Burma Army in early October, was exhumed from the grave on Wednesday by a team of police and medical professionals.
The corpse showed severe head injuries but the exact cause of death is still unknown. A recovery team has transferred the body to a hospital in Mon State capital Moulmein for a medical examination.
Witnesses of the exhumation told The Irrawaddy that damage to the head was extreme and could indicate being hit with a blunt object.
Wednesday’s event is believed to be the first time that the Burma Army has ever fulfilled a request to produce the body of a civilian casualty.
Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, went missing in late September in southeastern Burma’s Mon State. The Burma Army informed the nation’s Interim Press Council three weeks later that he had been shot on Oct. 4 after attempting to flee military custody.
The military’s statement said that Aung Kyaw Naing was arrested on suspicion of association with an ethnic armed group, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA).
Aung Kyaw Naing is widely known to be a freelance reporter and photographer, a fact omitted in the military’s statement.
On Oct. 31, President Thein Sein ordered Burma’s National Human Rights Commission to fully investigate the case after immense public outrage and calls from foreign entities. News emerged on Monday that Aung Kyaw Naing’s body would be exhumed.
A team of about 300 people including the victim’s widow, police and military personnel traveled to the remote location about one mile south of Shwe War Chaung village on Wednesday to retrieve the body.
The team has transported Aung Kyaw Naing’s body to Moulmein, the Mon State capital. His wife has indicated that she would like to see him receive a Buddhist funeral.