The Irrawaddy

Suspect in U Ko Ni Murder Trial Says Officials Framed Him

YANGON — Zeya Phyo, one of the suspects in last year’s assassination of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni, said on Thursday the case against him was based purely on hearsay and false documents.

At a trial hearing yesterday, he said the only evidence in the case was testimony from a “so-called” witness, “false” information presented at a Home Affairs Ministry press conference, along with what he described as fake telephone records.

After U Ko Ni, who was also a legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy, was gunned down by Kyi Lin outside Yangon International Airport in January last year, Aung Soe, (a.k.a. Insein Aung Soe) said another suspect, Aung Win Zaw, had tried to hire him to kill a person some seven months before the assassination.

Kyi Lin, Aung Win Zaw, Aung Win Tun and Zeya Phyo have since been arrested and brought to trial, though Aung Win Khaing, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the conspiracy, remains at large. He was last seen in Naypyitaw in February 2017.

Zeya Phyo is charged with aiding and abetting an offender in murder. During the trial on Thursday at Yangon North District Court, he said the case was built solely on the accounts of Aung Soe and the statements of the Home Affairs Ministry.

He said time and again during previous trial hearings that the accounts of Aung Soe are baseless and the information released at the ministry’s press conference was false.

He also claimed that the phone records detailing calls on his mobile phone submitted by the public prosecutor to the court as evidence of his communication with Aung Win Khaing were fake.

“The most important thing in this entire case is the call history. It [the call history submitted to the court] is not an official document released by the telecom operator. The telecom operator [records don’t look] like that,” Zeya Phyo told the media.

“And the call history record bears no official stamp [of the telecom operator]. Such a list can be printed easily with a printer. It’s a fake,” Zeya Phyo told the media.

The public prosecutor, showing the call history, called on Zeya Phyo to admit that he called the mobile phone of Aung Win Khaing one day before the assassination.

Zeya Phyo said he did not remember whether the phone number he was shown was that of Aung Win Khaing, adding that he made phone calls to several people at that time.

Aung Win Zaw, the brother of Aung Win Khaing, has testified at a previous trial that the phone number belongs to Aung Win Khaing. The public prosecutor pointed out that the phone was handed over by Aung Win Khaing’s wife during a police search.

Zeya Phyo insisted the call logs were false.

“The Criminal Investigation Department has officially requested the call history [from the telecom operator],” said public prosecutor U Robert San Aung.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.