U Ko Ni Murder Suspect Freed on Bail

By Htun Htun 22 February 2018

YANGON—A court on Thursday granted bail to one of five men accused of conspiring to kill National League for Democracy legal adviser U Ko Ni, who was gunned down in early 2017.

Yangon Northern District Court in Insein Township allowed Aung Win Tun to walk free after he paid bail of 50 million kyat and produced two guarantors.

Aung Win Tun is accused of harboring his brother and co-conspirator Aung Win Zaw. Prosecutors allege Aung Win Tun drove his brother to Hpa-an, Karen State, after the killing was carried out in Rangoon on Jan. 29.

However, neither the Home Affairs Ministry nor the police mentioned Aung Win Tun’s name in connection with the case at their press conference on Feb. 25, nor did they state exactly when he was arrested. There were no references to Aung Win Tun by the President’s Office in its public updates on the case.

Authorities have so far named five suspects in the assassination of U Ko Ni: Gunman Kyi Lin, co-conspirators Aung Win Tun, Aung Win Zaw and Zeya Phyo, and the alleged mastermind, Aung Win Khaing, a former lieutenant-colonel in the Myanmar Army who remains at large.

Aung Win Khaing was charged with homicide under Article 302 of the penal code, but has so far eluded capture. He is also a brother of Aung Win Tun.

The court granted bail over prosecutors’ objections, saying they had failed to submit evidence backing up their calls for Aung Win Tun to remain behind bars.

Zeya Phyo, one of the accused, told the media: “Finally, the truth is revealed.”

Prosecutor Robert San Aung said, “I hope there will not be any [negative] consequences from this; Aung Win Tun is the brother of fugitive Aung Win Khaing.”