KBC Requests Visitation Rights With Detained Kachin Leader

By Network Media Group
Monday, December 26, 2022

No one’s been allowed to visit the Rev Dr Hkalam Samson, who has been detained for three weeks, after the military arrested the former Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) chairperson at the airport in Mandalay.

A KBC negotiating committee working for his release has written to regime leader Min Aung Hlaing requesting permission to see the Kachin leader.

“As far as we know, he has already received our request,” said Rev Laphai Zau Ra, joint secretary of the KBC, explaining that the committee had met twice with the minister of Security and Border Affairs for Kachin State to discuss the matter.

Although no one knows where Hkalam Samson is being held, the minister’s Facebook page said he was fine. The Kachin leader was on his way to Bangkok for medical treatment when the army abducted him on 5 December.

“We want to tell our fellow people is that our negotiating committee is working hard according to the directives of the KBC executive committee,” Laphai Zau Ra responded on the group’s Facebook page.

The World Kachin Congress, a network of Kachin organisations and communities around the world, in a statement described the Kachin leader’s arrest as a “provocative action against all Kachin nationalities”.

Two days after his arrest, the KBC said the regime was planning to charge him, but so far no charges had been filed.

Hkalam Samson, who is still an adviser to the KBC, has been a strong advocate for peace and the welfare of Kachin internally displaced persons. In December 2020, before the military coup, he met Min Aung Hlaing. He also visited the US where he met with then President Donald Trump and told him about the persecution of Christians in Burma by the army. An officer sued him for slander in Myitkyina Township Court but the case was later withdrawn.