Aung San Suu Kyi party official killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine

The rebels said he was killed in military attacks on Christmas day. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 26 December 2019

Aung San Suu Kyi party official killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine

  • The National League for Democracy’s Ye Thein had been held for weeks by the Arakan Army, insurgents fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists
  • The Arakan Army has carried out a series of daring kidnappings, bombings and raids against the army and local officials in Rakhine state

YANGON: An official from Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party was killed in Rakhine state after planning a show of support for the leader’s defense of Myanmar against genocide allegations at The Hague, a spokesman said Thursday.
The National League for Democracy’s Ye Thein, party chairman in Buthidaung township, had been held for weeks by the Arakan Army, insurgents fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
The rebels said he was killed in military attacks on Christmas day but the claim could not be verified and NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt said the group bore responsibility.
Ye Thein was detained on December 11 ahead of demonstrations backing Suu Kyi’s high-profile opening statements at the UN’s top court the same day.
“We, all members of NLD, are very sorry for the loss,” Myo Nyunt told AFP. “His gathering to support her was righteous and it was not a crime.”
The Arakan Army has carried out a series of daring kidnappings, bombings and raids against the army and local officials in Rakhine state.
Myanmar’s military has hit back hard, deploying thousands of additional soldiers to the western state and carrying out what Amnesty International called enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions.
The clashes are taking place in the same area where the military drove around 740,000 Rohingya Muslims over the border to Bangladesh in a bloody 2017 campaign.
The small African, mainly Muslim state of Gambia opened arguments against Buddhist-majority Myanmar at the International Court of Justice on December 10 accusing it of breaching the 1948 UN genocide convention in its operations against the Rohingya.
Backed by the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Canada and the Netherlands, Gambia sought emergency measures to prevent further violence against the Rohingya, pending a fuller case that could take years.
The Arakan Army said ahead of the hearings that it endorsed the case in a rare display of solidarity with Rohingya who are seen in Myanmar as non-citizens.
Suu Kyi stunned observers when she agreed to lead a team to The Hague in mid-December to represent Myanmar.
The former democracy icon’s reputation lies in tatters over the crisis but at home she enjoys broad support and several events across the country were organized to cheer her on.
Suu Kyi said in her opening statement there was no proof of “genocidal intent” and said army operations were in response to Rohingya militant attacks.


Ukraine to press for plane crash black boxes as Iran minister visits

Updated 20 January 2020

Ukraine to press for plane crash black boxes as Iran minister visits

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister said returning the black boxes would show that Iran wanted an unbiased investigation of the crash
  • The plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran

KIEV: Ukraine will press Iran to hand over the black boxes from the crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane at a meeting with a visiting Iranian delegation on Monday, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told reporters.
Ukraine would convey the message to visiting Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, that returning the black boxes would show that Iran wanted an unbiased investigation of the crash, Prystaiko said.
“His main task is to apologize and acknowledge what happened. We hope that we can go a little further than just political discussions and discuss practical problems. Among them in particular is the return of the black boxes,” Prystaiko said.
Iran had said on Sunday it was trying to analyze the black boxes from the airliner its military shot down this month, denying an earlier report it would hand them to Ukraine. All 176 aboard the flight died.
“At first they stated that they were handing them over, then the same person stated that they were not handing them over. This created some misunderstanding in Ukraine and we were starting to be asked: are they being handed over or not?“
Many of those killed had were Iranians with dual citizenship, but Iran does not recognize dual nationality and on Monday said it would treat the victims as Iranian nationals.
Canada, which had 57 citizens on the flight, said there were still no firm plans for downloading the recorders. Ottawa and other capitals have called for the black boxes to be sent abroad.
The Jan. 8 plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long-running dispute with the United States over its nuclear program and its influence in the region that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.
The Iranian military has said it downed Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in error in the aftermath of tit-for-tat strikes by the United States and Iran. But authorities delayed admitting this, prompting days of protests on Iran’s streets.
Ukraine held a ceremony at Kiev’s Boryspil airport on Sunday as the bodies of 11 citizens, including nine crew, were returned to Ukraine.