Two get death sentence for killing Suu Kyi aide - RTHK
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Two get death sentence for killing Suu Kyi aide

2019-02-15 HKT 16:35
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  • Kyi Lin (centre) who shot a prominent Muslim lawyer and close adviser of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, arrives at the court. Photo: AP
    Kyi Lin (centre) who shot a prominent Muslim lawyer and close adviser of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, arrives at the court. Photo: AP
A court in Myanmar on Friday sentenced two men to death for the killing of a prominent Muslim lawyer who was a close adviser to the country's top leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Yangon Northern District Court found the gunman, Kyi Lin, guilty of premeditated murder and illegal weapons possession for the January 29, 2017 shooting of Ko Ni in broad daylight at Yangon airport.

An accomplice involved in planning the killing was also sentenced to death, and two other men involved in the crime received prison sentences.

A fifth suspect thought to be the crime's mastermind remains at large.

Ko Ni was shot in the head at close range as he walked out of the airport after returning from a working trip to Indonesia. Closed-circuit television footage showed he was shot near a taxi stand as he held his five-year-old grandchild.

Onlookers chased down the gunman, catching him only after he also shot dead a taxi driver who was one of his pursuers. An ex-convict previously imprisoned for illegally trading in antiquities such as sculptures of Buddha, Kyi Lin also received a 20-year sentence for killing the taxi driver.

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.

Speculation about the reasons Ko Ni was targeted focused on two possibilities.

Ko Ni was noted for criticising army interference in politics and advised Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy on ways to get around articles in the army-imposed constitution that give the military wide powers even after Myanmar's transition to democracy.

Her party got around a ban on her becoming president by simply creating a new executive post, state counsellor, with presidential powers.

The fact that two of the defendants are former army officers fuelled theories that the military was involved with the crime, an accusation it denies. (AFP, AP)