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The court probing into the death of freelance reporter Par Gyi in military custody last year has concluded that the journalist died of “unnatural causes”, opening up possibilities to prosecute the soldiers allegedly responsible for his death.
On Tuesday, Mon State’s Kyeikmayaw township court heard testimonies from 11 servicemen, including two soldiers who were acquitted of culpable homicide charges regarding Par Gyi’s case by a military court earlier in May.
The journalist’s widow Ma Thandar reported that the judge ruled the victim died of a gunshot wound.
“Among those who gave testimony in the hearing today were Pvt. Naing Lin Tun and Lance-Cpl Kyaw Kyaw Aung, who were previously acquitted by the military court, as well as Lt. Ye Htut and Capt. Lu Zaw,” Ma Thandar said.
“There were a lot of inconsistencies in their testimonies.”
Ma Thandar said she will continue to pursue legal action for justice over her husband’s untimely death.
Par Gyi was detained by a Burmese army battalion in Kyeikmayaw in September last year. He had been embedded with the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army at the time, who were battling government forces in the region. A month later, the Burmese military announced that the journalist was shot dead as he tried to break free from custody by wrestling a firearm from a soldier.
The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission body investigating Par Gyi’s death released a report in December 2014 confirming he died of gunshot wounds and recommended trial by a civilian court to ensure transparency.
For the full story to date, watch the DVB documentary, Journey to justice: The Par Gyi case. WARNING: Graphic content