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Beaten, Cuffed, Hauled Away: When Myanmar’s Military Comes Knocking

Beaten, Cuffed, Hauled Away: When Myanmar’s Military Comes Knocking
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Beaten, Cuffed, Hauled Away: When Myanmar’s Military Comes Knocking

Crushed, Cuffed, Hauled Away: When Myanmar’s Military Comes Knocking

When the police and troopers arrived in the course of the evening, they fired their weapons into the air, threw stones via the home windows and threatened to drive a automotive via the entrance door if nobody opened it. U Shwe Win and his household have been asleep. It was 2:30 a.m.

The police and troopers had come to arrest Mr. Shwe Win’s son, Ko Win Htut Nyein. When they discovered him, they beat and handcuffed the 19-year-old earlier than hauling him away. His offense, the household was informed, was taking movies of the police at a protest in Mandalay the day earlier than.

Greater than two weeks later, Mr. Shwe Win continues to be looking for his son. The authorities say they don’t have any report of his arrest. “I felt so hopeless, like I had misplaced every thing at that second,” Mr. Shwe Win mentioned. “I nonetheless don’t know the place my son is. I don’t need him to die of their palms, and I fear that they may torture him.”

Because the Feb. 1 coup in Myanmar, tens of millions of pro-democracy protesters have joined demonstrations towards the army and took part typically strikes and a civil disobedience motion which have introduced the economic system to a digital halt. Safety forces have responded with rising ruthlessness, taking pictures folks within the streets and arbitrarily beating and arresting folks.

Politicians, journalists, college students and odd residents have all been caught within the army’s clutches. Troopers and the police invade houses in the course of the evening, looking for opponents of army rule. Many have gone into hiding. Some are arrested and launched. Others wind up lacking, tortured or useless.

The army’s actions have despatched a chilling message: Nobody is protected.

“The dimensions of arrests for the reason that coup offers you a transparent indication of the place the army junta is taking the nation: a spot with no area for critics or any political opposition to exist,” mentioned Mu Sochua, a former member of Cambodia’s Parliament and a part of a gaggle of Southeast Asian parliamentarians who promote human rights.

As of Friday, the safety forces had killed greater than 320 folks and arrested or charged greater than 3,000, in response to a gaggle monitoring arrests and killings. The youngest sufferer, 6, was shot and killed on Wednesday whereas sitting on her father’s lap.

In keeping with the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, a whole bunch who have been unlawfully detained have disappeared. Not less than 5 have died in custody, and two appeared to have been tortured, the company mentioned.

As they perform their arrests, troopers and the police steal cash, cellphones and automotive keys, victims and witnesses mentioned in interviews. Some protesters have mentioned they have been launched solely after paying cash to the police.

They’re the fortunate ones.

In Mandalay, Ko Myo Hein Kyaw, 24, disappeared after his arrest at a protest. His household was knowledgeable Friday — 4 days later — that he had died and that his physique had been cremated.

In different instances, our bodies have been returned to households with seen accidents and little rationalization.

U Zaw Myat Lynn, an activist with the Nationwide League for Democracy who headed a vocational coaching middle for the celebration, was arrested round midnight on March 8. The subsequent day, the police directed his spouse, Daw Phyu Phyu Win, to go to a army hospital to establish his physique.

She noticed many bruises on his face, she mentioned in an interview.

The remainder of the physique was wrapped in a material, however photographs confirmed a wound to his stomach, which was listed as the reason for loss of life.

The official post-mortem report mentioned he had suffered the stomach damage throughout an escape try when he jumped from a top of 30 toes onto a fence. His spouse believes he was stabbed to loss of life.

“When I noticed his useless physique, I used to be certain that they killed my husband after torturing him,” she mentioned.

Within the seek for fugitives and anti-coup leaders, one widespread tactic is for the police to arrest members of the family and colleagues and attempt to extract helpful info from them. A lot of these being hunted are elected officers who’ve gone into hiding, together with members of Parliament who’ve shaped a gaggle claiming to be Myanmar’s lawful authorities.

U Sithu Maung, 33, is likely one of the lawmakers, and has been the goal of a weekslong manhunt.

At 9:30 on the night of March 6, troopers and the police arrived on the residence of one among Mr. Sithu Maung’s shut associates from the Nationwide League for Democracy, U Khin Maung Latt.

Mr. Khin Maung Latt was arrested, and the following morning, members of the family have been notified to choose up his physique. The household discovered bruising on his again and stitches in his scalp, Mr. Sithu Maung mentioned.

“It’s such a giant loss for me as he was my colleague, comrade and like my actual uncle,” he mentioned in an interview from hiding. “It was an assassination of a accountable citizen.”

That very same evening, troopers and the police raided the house of Mr. Sithu Maung’s dad and mom, breaking down the door and holding everybody at gunpoint, members of the family mentioned.

When they failed to seek out Mr. Sithu Maung, the police arrested his father, who ran out the again door, the place the safety forces have been ready for him.

They beat his father and struck him on the top with a gun, members of the family mentioned. Ransacking the home, they took two cellphones and $4,000 in gold and money. When they left, they fired their weapons and threw a stun grenade into the road.

“This sample of violence has been seen throughout Yangon and different cities,” Mr. Sithu Maung mentioned. “They arrive and seek for somebody. If they can’t discover that particular person, they commit violence and take the members of the family of the particular person they focused.”

The regime’s spokesman, Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, acknowledged at a information convention Tuesday that the safety forces had killed 164 folks, however claimed all of them died whereas attacking the police and troopers with Molotov cocktails and do-it-yourself smoke bombs.

The army didn’t touch upon the protesters who’ve died or gone lacking after being detained.

Members of the general public now generally name the safety forces “terrorists” for his or her brutal strategies when finishing up arrests and taking pictures randomly into crowds and houses.

In southern Myanmar, college students from Myeik College gathered for a protest when troopers and the police arrived. One scholar, Ma Thae Ei Phyu, 22, a philosophy main, was shot behind the neck with rubber bullets from a couple of toes away.

“I attempted to not fall down as a result of I do know they’ve a behavior of raping ladies and ladies,” she mentioned. “I didn’t need to get arrested.”

The troopers rounded up your complete group of about 70 protesters and took them to a close-by air power base and beat them with sticks, plastic pipes, chains and belts, mentioned a instructor, U Nay Lin, 30, who was amongst these arrested. The beating left large crimson welts crisscrossing his again, a photograph confirmed.

Mr. Nay Lin mentioned a person with a tattoo of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi on his chest acquired the worst beating of all.

Ms. Thae Ei Phyu was taken to a hospital, the place she acquired stitches for the deep holes in her neck brought on by the rubber bullets. She and many of the others have been ultimately launched with out expenses. Earlier this week, the junta additionally launched greater than 600 principally younger protesters who had been detained in Yangon, in a seeming effort to appease the motion.

“They tried to threaten us by arresting and torturing us like this, however we aren’t afraid to die,” she mentioned. “It’s higher to die than residing underneath the junta.”

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