Par Gyi’s widow slams state inquiry into his death

Par Gyi’s widow slams state inquiry into his death

The widow of Burmese journalist Par Gyi, who died while in Burmese army custody last month, has rejected findings from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission’s (MNHRC) report into his death.

In a statement released on 10 December, Ma Thandar blasted the official inquiry as neither comprehensive nor impartial, and called for a new and independent investigation into her husband’s death.

She highlighted the shortcomings in the MNHRC report, such as failure to mention the Kyeikmayaw police handing him over to the Burmese army without court procedures, and what she maintains are the inaccurate details of injuries Par Gyi sustained.

The statement was addressed to nine government departments, including the President’s Office, the military commander-in-chief and the MNHRC.

The case has garnered much international attention and Burma has received appeals to be more transparent regarding the details of Par Gyi’s death. Various accounts have contradicted the official line, including allegations he was tortured while in army custody.

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Thandar wrote: “Although it can be concluded that the wounds on Ko Par Gyi’s body show he died from torture, the commission reported biasedly that there were no witness accounts.”

Speaking to DVB earlier this week, Ma Thandar said the report only mentioned superficially her husband’s rights as a Burmese citizen. “I find it unacceptable that the report did not highlight anything regarding his citizen rights – it failed to mention that the army had no authority to take him into a war zone without approval from a judge and that he was handed over to the army by the local police station without any paperwork,” she said.

“That is basically the same as what human traffickers do.”

Ma Thandar, a former political prisoner, said in the statement that the MNHRC’s current chairman, Win Zaw, was the former director of the notorious Insein prison where she had been held, where he personally ordered her one-year solitary confinement after she complained about a human rights situation in the prison.

She also attacked the commission’s profile of her lawyer, Robert San Aung, a certified Supreme Court practitioner, by referring to him in the report as “a so-called lawyer”.

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