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Ko Ni murder: MP about-turns on accusation

Lawyer Ko Ni, seen here on a DVB Debate panel in September 2016, played a prominent role in drafting legislation to address religious discrimination and hate speech in Burma. (Photo: DVB)

Lawmaker Lin Zaw Tun, a prosecution witness in the case against suspected assassin Kyi Lin, has apologised for his testimony in court yesterday when he accused fellow witness Aung Soe of being the murderer of senior government adviser Ko Ni.

Lin Zaw Tun, a Lower House MP from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), apparently admitted today in front of Aung Soe at the Department of Criminal Investigation in Yangon that his testimony had been “misinformed”.

Speaking to DVB this morning, Aung Soe said MP Lin Zaw Tun had contacted him to apologise and that he would not seek damages.

“U Lin Zaw Tun said that he would re-address the issue if called upon by the court, but that he would not blame me,” he said. “In fact, he said it had been his intention to single out Myint Swe, not me. However, he said my name. Now he has apologised, so I won’t sue him.”

At Yangon’s Northern District Court yesterday, the USDP parliamentarian testified that he did not know the alleged gunman Kyi Lin — who was arrested near the scene of the crime on 29 January 2017 shortly after the murder took place outside Yangon International Airport – but instead he said he believed the culprit to be Aung Soe.

Aung Soe’s name has surfaced in connection with the high-profile trial in the past, with local news outlet Myanmar Now interviewing him for an article in February 2017 in which he claimed to have been a fellow inmate of Kyi Lin at Obo Prison in Mandalay several years ago.

According to suspected assassin Kyi Lin’s lawyer, Kyi Lin told him that an individual named Myint Swe had threatened him with harm if he did not kill Ko Ni.

Investigating police officer Major Tin Maung Swe told the court yesterday that Myint Swe has since been killed in a separate incident in Thailand.

The next hearing is scheduled for 22 March.