Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Aung Gyi, was a freelance reporter who was taken into custody by an army infantry battalion on September 30, 2014 in eastern Mon state. After five days in military custody, the army claims the reporter was killed after trying to escape. His body was buried by authorities at Shwe War Chong, a village outside of Kyaikmayaw, without notifying his family. In an email sent to Burma’s Interim Press Council on October 23, the military admitted to killing him, alleging he was an insurgent and worked as communications officer for the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army’s (DKBA) political wing.
As human rights defender, Aung nourished the idea of helping thousands of Burmese who fled their country to search of refuge at Myanmar-Thai border as the conflict was escalating. Aung’s records on gross violation of human rights in Myanmar raised concerns at international level which could be noticed as a positive act for changes in the Myanmar authorities behaviour and the implementation of human rights and democracy values.
He began his career as an activist during the antigovernment demonstrations in 1988 and briefly worked as a bodyguard for Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung had documented human-rights abuses committed by the junta, while being on exile. More recently, he had been covering renewed fighting between a band of ethnic Karen rebels and the Burmese military near the Thai border.
In November 2014, a military court in a secret trial acquitted two soldiers of his death. Police pursuing a separate civil complaint announced they had stopped their investigation into the case in April 2016 after the Kyaikmayaw Township Court ruled Aung had died of “unnatural causes”. The ruling said that the court did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed by the military.