Killing of lawyer U Ko Ni
6 February 2017

Killing of lawyer U Ko Ni


Lawyers for Lawyers was shocked to learn about the killing of lawyer U Ko Ni on 29 January 2017. We call on the authorities of Myanmar to conduct a prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the killing of U Ko Ni.

According to our information, on 29 January 2017, U Ko Ni was shot at close range in the head by a gunman as he was preparing to leave Yangon International Airport, having just returned from a government-organised visit to Indonesia. A taxi driver who tried to apprehend the gunman as he attempted to flee the scene was also shot, and later died in hospital. A number of other taxi drivers were successful in stopping and detaining the gunman until the police arrived. This was reported by the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute.

U Ko Ni was one of Myanmar‘s most prominent lawyers and a distinguished legal advocate for human rights. He was the legal advisor to Aung Sang Suu Kyi (leader of the National League for Democracy), and a central committee member of the constitutional reform committee. U Ko Ni was also a patron of the recently formed Myanmar Muslim Lawyers Association.

On 30 January, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, condemned the murder of Ko Ni. As recently as 25 January 2017 the Special Rapporteur had expressed her fears of government retaliation following her last visit to Myanmar, when she also met with U Ko Ni. Yanghee Lee stated that the killing of U Ko Ni “appears to be another shocking example of a reprisal against those speaking out on behalf of the rights of others,” recalling her recent end of visit statement, where she highlighted her “concern at the increasing risks faced by human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and others working on sensitive issues”.

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