YANGON (Reuters) – A Myanmar journalist who was killed in army custody this month was once a democracy activist and a bodyguard for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, his wife said on Tuesday, adding she fears she won’t be able to find out how he died because of the military’s sweeping powers.
Than Dar, the wife of slain journalist Par Gyi, said in an interview that she planned to launch a national campaign to find out what happened to her husband.
A photograph on the wall of her wooden two-storey house showed her with a smiling Par Gyi and their young daughter posing with Suu Kyi. The family has received a letter of condolence from the Nobel Peace laureate.
Par Gyi was arrested on Sept 30 after completing a photo assignment documenting clashes between the military and the rebel Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and was killed on Oct 4, the Myanmar-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said.
The AAPP disputed a statement released by the military, which said Par Gyi was shot when he tried to steal a gun from a soldier and escape after being detained because he was a member of an ethnic Karen rebel organisation.
Than Dar says she suspects he died while being tortured, leading the military to secretly bury his body. She has asked the police to exhume the body so an autopsy can be carried out to confirm the cause of death.
The government has not commented on his death.
In Washington, the US State Department said Tuesday it was “deeply concerned and saddened” by reports of Par Gyi’s killing.