Karen Alliance Condemns Lack of Transparency and Claims Burma Army Cover-up in Naw Mu Naw’s Murder Trial

The Karen Peace Support Network issued a statement strongly condemning a lack of transparency in trial of two Burma Army soldiers murder of Karen villager Naw Mu Naw.

KPSN said the “family and community need to know if justice has been done for the killing. KPSN said “there are strong doubts whether the trial was fairly conducted, given the military’s earlier claims that the soldiers killed Mu Naw ‘accidentally’.”

The Burma Army said on August 2, two soldiers who robbed and killed Naw Mu Naw, a mother of three, in Mutraw on July 16, had been tried by court martial and given the “maximum punishment.” KPSN said the lack of transparency around the killing by the Burma Army showed a lack of respect and contempt for Naw Mu Naw family. KPSN said “no further details about the sentence have been released to the public.”

KPSN said Naw Mu Naw’s case “should not have been tried by court martial, but in a civilian court, as it was a crime against a civilian, committed by soldiers who were off duty. Yet the Burma Army insisted on adjudicating the case themselves, clearly in an attempt to keep the facts from the public, and hush the incident up, like their previous crimes against civilians in Mutraw and other districts in Karen State.”

KPSN said Naw Mu Naw’s murder is not an isolated killing by the Burma Army as it is “only the latest in a series of Burma Army killings in Mutraw this year, all committed with impunity. In one case, when a KNU forest worker was shot and killed on March 5, the Burma Army even falsely claimed that the victim, who had been riding a motorcycle, had attacked them first, and they had acted in self defence.”

KPSN said the the two soldiers were “emboldened by the prevailing climate of impunity to rob and kill Naw Mu Naw in broad daylight, and what motivated thousands of Karen villagers to march publicly on July 22 and 28 in Mutraw and August 6, 2020, in Kler Lwee Htu, calling for an end to Burma Army crimes, and for the withdrawal of their troops from Mutraw.”

KPSN said villagers had been pushed to protest in Mutraw over concerns for their safety. “Communities know full well that while the Burma Army remains in their lands, tasked to subjugate the local population at all costs, they will never be safe. The Burma Army has not respected their ceasefire with the KNU, continuing aggressive expansion into Mutraw, carrying out heavy shelling of civilian areas, and building over a dozen new military bases in recent years.”

KPSN offered its support and added its voice to the people of Mutraw and Kler Lwee Htu “calls for justice for Naw Mu Naw, and demand that this case be transferred to a civilian court.”

KPSN said demanded Burma Army withdraws its soldiers closes its camps – “not only in Mutraw, but in conflict areas throughout the country, so that inclusive dialogue towards a new federal constitution can begin.”

KPSN appealed to the “international community to support our calls for justice and peace by exerting increased diplomatic and economic pressure on Burma, including through sanctions targeting the Burma Army and their economic interests.”

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