Nationalist supporters of Ko Ni killer get one-year prison sentences

Three supporters of a gunman who killed National League for Democracy (NLD) legal advisor Ko Ni in January 2017 have each been sentenced to a year in prison with hard labour.

The three men, who had been in hiding for nearly three years until turning themselves in earlier this month, received their sentences on Wednesday.

The charges against them stem from their appearance at a hearing held on February 2, 2018, at the Yangon region northern district court, where the defendant, Kyi Lin, was on trial for shooting Ko Ni at point-blank range the year before.

Wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Eat while you can”—a veiled threat in Burmese—the men were later charged by the Insein township general administrator under section 505(b) of the penal code, which criminalizes speech that is likely to “cause fear or alarm in the public”.

Hein Wai Yan, Myat Bhone Mo, and Aung Lin were all found guilty of violating the law, which is subject to a penalty of up to two years in prison, a fine, or both.

Tin Htay Aung, a fourth member of the group who was apprehended soon after the courtroom incident, has already completed his sentence, which was handed down by the Insein court on August 10, 2018.

Meanwhile, another man connected with the Ko Ni case is also facing trial after turning himself in this month.

Tin Lin Htike will have his first court hearing at Thaketa township court in Yangon on December 24. He had been in hiding for nearly three years after re-enacting Ko Ni’s shooting at a charity event in Thaketa in February 2018.

Wirathu, an ultranationalist monk who has been charged with sedition under section 124(a) of the penal code, also turned himself in to the police on November 3, just six days before the election.

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