Detainee Dies of Wounds After ‘Brutal Torture’ by Tatmadaw

I am really surprised that the NLD government… hasn’t said anything about the brutal actions of the army,’ a Rakhine civilian says.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A civilian who was arrested by the military under suspicion of having links with the Arakan Army (AA) died of wounds he endured during his detention, his family members said.

Zaw Win Hlaing, 28, died in the hospital in Sittwe, Rakhine State on July 1 while receiving medical treatment following an investigation by Burma Army soldiers.

“He vomited blood in the hospital. He could not eat anything. He could not speak. There are many injuries on his body. He was brutally tortured by the army,” a family member said. “He didn’t have any links with the AA forces. He was an honest person. He used to be a bricklayer. He took up any job that came by.”

Zaw Win Hlaing’s body was returned to his home township of Mrauk-U on Tuesday morning and was scheduled for cremation on Wednesday.

Members of the Burma Army arrested Zaw Win Hlaing on June 20 when he was on his way back from Weithali village to Pouktawpyin village in Mrauk-U. He was one of eight civilians arrested near Weithali that day.

Twenty-year-old Nay Myo Tun was among the eight arrested that day, and died on June 24. The military reported that he died while receiving treatment in a hospital.

Col Win Zaw Oo, a spokesperson for the army’s western military command, told media that he had yet to be informed of the situation surrounding Zaw Win Hlaing’s arrest, interrogation and death.

Since the Burma Army clashed with the AA in northern Rakhine State and southern Chin State, Rakhine civil society organizations have said that the military has been widely arresting civilians and accusing them of having connections to the AA. Multiple people have died due to injuries sustained in military detention, they have reported, calling for a halt to the targeting of civilians in the conflict.

“This is an unfair case. They have been brutally tortured. The victims are not one or two people. [The army] has carried out many brutal cases,” Zaw Zaw Tun, secretary of the Rakhine Ethnic Tribes Association, told NMG. “They don’t have any evidence [against the detainees]. They don’t respect human dignity. They are committing whatever acts they want.”

Zaw Zaw Tun said that he was most disappointed that the current political administration was not standing with the civilians.

“I want to say only one thing: I am really surprised that the NLD [National League for Democracy] government, which is working for human rights and democracy, hasn’t said anything about the brutal actions of the army,” he added.