Top Myanmar's lawyer killed

Top Myanmar's lawyer killedTens of thousands of people gathered in the Myanmar city of Yangon on Monday for the funeral of Ko Ni, a Muslim lawyer shot dead the previous day who was involved in efforts to amend a military drafted constitution, according to Reuters on Monday.

The 63-year-old was an expert in constitutional law and adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, that came to power in April. He was also a prominent member of Myanmar's Muslim minority.

His killing, amid heightened communal and religious tension in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, appears to be a rare act of political violence in the former capital that coincided with a tough security operation in a northwestern region populated mostly by Muslims.

Police have arrested a 53-year-old man, suspected to be the lone gunman who shot Ko Ni in the head while the lawyer held his grandson outside Yangon's international airport on Sunday evening. Police Colonel Myo Thu Soe said the suspect, Kyi Linn, was from central Myanmar's Yinmabin township who has served two stints in jail for trafficking religious antiques.

He had just returned from a trip to Indonesia, where Myanmar government officials and Muslim community leaders discussed with Indonesian counterparts issues of reconciliation.

According to state media, the 42-year-old taxi driver Nay Win was also killed when he attempted to apprehend the gunman.

An estimated 100,000 mourners, including family members, lawyers, NLD activists and members of Yangon's diplomatic corps, attended Ko Ni's funeral beginning at a Muslim cemetery in northern Yangon.

Ko Ni was working on amendments to constitution that would further challenge the role of the military, which retains a quarter of parliamentary seats and controls security ministries under the charter.

Ko Ni was also spearheading a new Interfaith Harmony Bill that would include provisions on hate speech, hate crimes and discrimination, according to two experts working with him on the draft legislation.

According to Reuters, family members and friends said that Ko Ni had received death threats connected to his political work, but the motive for the killing was not known.
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