Police stand guard outside the National Reconciliation and Peace Center in Naypyitaw, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)
Police stand guard outside the National Reconciliation and Peace Center in Naypyitaw, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

Newsmagazine publisher stabbed to death in Myanmar

Bangkok, April 20, 2017–Authorities in Myanmar should swiftly identify and bring to justice the killer of newsmagazine publisher Wai Yan Heinn, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist was found dead on April 16 with 15 stab wounds to his chest and abdomen at his Yangon-based office, news reports said.

Wai Yen Heinn, 27, was the publisher and editor of the weekly newsmagazine Iron Rose, according to news reports. The magazine had recently published cover stories on the country’s former ruling military generals and their business associates, as well as a portrayal of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi that referred to her as a “drone president,” the reports said.

Police Capt. Yin Htwe said police officials had launched an investigation into the publisher’s death and were awaiting the results of an autopsy. News reports said Wai Yen Heinn’s body was discovered slumped in a chair after neighbors reported a strong odor coming from his first-floor office in the Yangon neighborhood of Pazundaung Township, reports said. It was not immediately clear when the murder had taken place, the reports said.

“Authorities should leave no stone unturned in identifying and apprehending Wai Yen Heinn’s killer,” said 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.”

On December 13 last year, Daily Eleven newspaper reporter Soe Moe Tun was found bludgeoned to death on the side of a road in Monywa, in Myanmar’s northwestern region. The reporter had covered many sensitive topics, including illegal logging, before his killing. Recent media reports indicate that no progress has been made in solving the case.

In October 2014, freelance journalist Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, was shot and killed in military custody in Myanmar’s southeastern Mon State. 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.