Myanmar orders probe into killing of journalist

Government maintains reporter tried to steal gun from guard to escape detention before being shot.

Myanmar orders probe into killing of journalist

World Bulletin/News Desk

Myanmar's president has ordered an investigation into the killing of a local journalist, following pressure from the United States and Britain.

State media reported Friday that the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has been told to submit a report on Aung Kyaw Naing's death while he was in military detention to Thein Sein’s office.

But there are grave doubts about the commission's independence - last month activists accused the panel of bias in favor of the military-backed government.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Myanmar's main city of Yangon last week after reports that the reporter had been shot dead while in military custody near the country's southwestern border with Thailand.

Naing was covering a recent outbreak of fighting between the military and ethnic Karen rebels when he was detained by government troops on September 30. Four days later he was killed, according to a military statement sent to Myanmar's press council.

But the government maintains that the reporter tried to steal a gun from a guard and escape before being shot. Officials have said he was a "communications captain" for the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, a claim the rebels deny.

The Myanmar Times has reported that Naing's wife, Than Da, believes he was tortured and then murdered. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. embassy in Yangon called for a "credible and transparent investigation" into the killing and urged the government to "hold the perpetrators to account."

The British embassy has also called for an investigation. 

Amnesty International said Thursday that failing to investigate would "further entrench impunity in the country, and have a chilling effect on other journalists."

Myanmar's media is freer than it has been for decades thanks to democratic reforms that started after the military junta stepped aside in 2011 - but there have recently been signs of backsliding.

Several reporters have received lengthy jail terms this year, while others have been arrested for protesting against attacks on media freedom.

Earlier this week police said they would open a separate investigation into Aung Kyaw Naing's death.

 

Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2014, 13:17
Add Comment