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Ko Ni murder: hearing suspended

FILE PHOTO: The late Ko Ni, Supreme Court lawyer and National League for Democracy's constitutional review committee member.

The latest hearing in the trial of suspected assassin Kyi Lin and three conspirators at Northern District Court was suspended today, apparently because the case files had been sent to Yangon Regional Court.

Ye Lwin, the deputy judge and information officer at Northern District Court in Yangon, said that the Regional Court had requested the files because both lawyers had submitted appeals.

“The district court cannot hold a hearing if it has no case files,” he told reporters. “The next hearing will be on 5 April, provided the Regional Court returns the files in time.”

Kyi Lin stands accused of murdering Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and senior adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi. Ko Ni was gunned down in broad daylight at Yangon International Airport on 29 January 2017. The accused gunman, Kyi Lin, was arrested at the airport shortly after the murder, largely thanks to a vigilante cohort that chased him down, including 42-year-old taxi driver Nay Win, who was also shot dead.

Ko Ni was well-known for his efforts to amend Burma’s controversial, military-drafted constitution. Several voices, including Burma’s minister for home affairs, have insinuated that Ko Ni was assassinated at the orders of Buddhist extremists.

Khin Maung Htay, a lawyer for Ko Ni’s family, told reporters outside the courthouse this morning that Robert San Aung, the lawyer representing murdered taxi driver Nay Win, had filed an appeal to the Regional Court, calling for the suspects to be charged with terrorism.

“If the defendants had no personal grudge [against U Ko Ni], then we can call this assassination an act of terrorism,” he said.