Watchdog urges prompt action to apprehend publisher’s killer

The authorities should swiftly identify and bring to justice the killer of a magazine editor knifed to death in his downtown Yangon office, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday.

U Wai Yan Heinn, 27, who was also the publisher of the weekly Iron Rose news magazine, was found dead with 15 stab wounds to his chest and abdomen in the publication’s Pazundaung Township office on Sunday, media reports said.

The New York-based CPJ quoted the reports as saying Wai Yan Heinn’s body was found slumped in a chair after neighbours complained of a strong odour coming from the first-floor office.

It was not clear when he was killed and police investigating the crime were awaiting the result of an autopsy, the media watchdog quoted the reports as saying.

The magazine had recently published cover stories about members of the former ruling junta and their business associates, as well as a report about State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that referred to her as a “drone president”, the reports said.

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“Authorities should leave no stone unturned in identifying and apprehending Wai Yen Heinn’s killer,” said Mr Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative.

“Myanmar is fast emerging as a country where media murders go unpunished. The cycle of impunity and deadly violence should be broken now by promptly bringing Wai Yen Heinn’s murderer to justice,” Crispin said.

On December 13 last year, Daily Eleven newspaper reporter U Soe Moe Tun was found bludgeoned to death on the side of a road at Monywa. He had been covering sensitive topics, including illegal logging.

Recent media reports indicate that no progress has been made in solving the case, the CPJ said.

In October 2014, freelance journalist Ko Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Ko Par Gyi, was shot and killed in military custody in Mon State’s Kyaikmayaw Township. A military court acquitted two soldiers of his death the following month.

Police stopped investigating a separate civil complaint in April 2016 after a court ruled the reporter had died of “unnatural causes,” news reports at the time said.

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