YANGON, Feb 16 (NNN-AGENCIES) � A Myanmar court Friday sentenced two people to death for the murder of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal advisor, after a drawn-out trial backlit by allegations of impunity with a main suspect still at large.
Ko Ni, whose work and Muslim faith made him a target of hate speech online by Buddhist nationalists, was shot in the head at point blank range outside Yangon airport in January 2017, while holding his infant grandson.
The brazen, daytime murder shocked the country and came about eight months after civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration entered office.
Ko Ni was a legal advisor to her National League for Democracy and had been working on plans to amend the 2008 military-drafted constitution, which gifts the armed forces control of defence and a quarter of parliamentary seats.
Critics have said the slow trial fell short of establishing a complete picture of what led to the murder, pointing to the military backgrounds of two suspects on trial and an elusive fugitive thought to be the mastermind.
Judge Khin Maung Maung sentenced gunman Kyi Lin, who also shot and killed a taxi driver while fleeing, to death until he dies by hanging.
The shooter also received an extra 23 years and hard labour for weapons charges and the death of taxi driver Nay Win, who chased him after Ko Ni was gunned down.
Accomplice Aung Win Zaw, who was at the airport, was also sentenced to death.
Two other defendants Zeya Phyo and Aung Win Tun, who assisted at different stages of the plot, received five years and three years imprisonment with hard labour respectively.
Ko Ni had been one of the few high-profile Muslims still involved in politics in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, after the NLD failed to enlist any Muslim candidates in its historic 2015 election run. � NNN-AGENCIES
Source: NAM News Network