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Top court drops Kachin abductee case

Burma’s Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the husband of an ethnic Kachin woman whom he claims was abducted by Burmese troops last year.

Twenty-eight year old Sumlut Roi Ja, who had a 14-month-old daughter, has not been seen since she went missing on 28 October from Hkaibang village, in the northern state’s Momauk township.
The top court in the capital, Naypyidaw, initially agreed to hear a case filed by Maru Dau Lum and on 23 February summoned officials from Burma’s Northern Regional Military Command (NRMC), which oversees the army division accused in the suit, to Naypyidaw.
But after hearing a statement from the defence lawyer, the case was dropped. Mahka, who has been representing Sumlut Roi Ja, said the NRMC officials denied any involvement in the abduction, while the court is also believed to have rejected testimonials from both Maru Dau Lum and Sumlut Roi Ja’s father-in-law on the grounds that they were “insufficient”. The two say they were abducted along with her but later escaped.
They claim that Burmese troops had accused them of links to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has been battling the Burmese army since June last year. They both refute the accusation.

A relative of Sumlut Roi Ja told DVB in February that she was last seen on the morning following her abduction standing in front of a Burmese army outpost.

“We looked at the Montbo hill through binoculars and saw her outside the [Burmese army] base – she looked jittery as the soldiers were touching her inappropriately one after another,” said the relative.

“After that, we saw her being taken inside [the base] and she hasn’t emerged since. She is assumed dead – we held a prayer for her on 20 December [last year].”

The family is consulting with their lawyer over whether to approach Burma’s Union Parliament for assistance in the case.
Despite widespread reports of ongoing atrocities in the war-torn Kachin state, the government-formed National Human Rights Commission has said that it would not be investigating reports of abuse of civilians in Burma’s ethnic regions anytime soon.


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