The investigation into the brutal death of reporter Par Gyi has been closed by Mon State’s Kyeikmayaw Township police.
The case has been closed despite the evidence of a post-mortem examination of Par Gyi’s body — exhumed in November 2014, about a month after his death — that revealed five gunshot wounds to his body, including one to his head, a broken jaw, a caved-in skull and broken ribs.
Mon State’s Kyeikmayaw Township court previously concluded that the journalist died of “unnatural causes” after hearing the testimonies of 11 servicemen, including two soldiers who were acquitted of culpable homicide charges regarding Par Gyi’s case by a military court in May 2015.
Robert San Aung, the lawyer representing Par Gyi’s wife, Ma Thandar, told DVB that it was a “mistake” to close the investigation, as it discounted the evidence and was not correct legal procedure.
“It was the police who opened the investigation and now they’ve decided to close it. Closing the case without consent from the plaintiff is wrongful conduct and it opened up many leads for further legal action.
“We will try to reopen the investigation via a writ” from a higher court, he said.
Ma Thandar said she will continue to pursue legal action to get justice for her husband.
“I’ve said since Ko Par Gyi first went missing, that all I want is justice within legal boundaries. And I will continue my effort to bring that justice,” said Ma Thandar.
Par Gyi died in military custody after he was accused of being a member of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army. He had been embedded with the rebels in Kyeikmayaw for coverage of the civil conflict in eastern Burma. The army claimed Par Gyi was shot dead as he tried to wrestle away a firearm from a soldier who was guarding him.
Ma Thandar believes the decision by the Kyaikmayaw police is dubious as it coincided with the political changes in Burma.
She added, “The court had ordered a formal investigation into the death [of Par Gyi] and now it has closed it as a ‘mistake’ and I find this very suspicious.”
The police have closed the case citing it in legal terms as a “mistake of fact” — an error that is not caused by the neglect of a legal duty on the part of the person committing the error but rather consists of an unconscious ignorance.
Par Gyi was a 49-year-old freelance journalist and former bodyguard of Aung San Suu Kyi during the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.
Reporting by Linn Satt Aung