Two men arrested last week in the city of Myit Chay, central Myanmar, have died in custody while relatives of two other people arrested at the same time say they do not know where they are being held or whether they are still alive.
The four men were arrested by Myit Chay in the eighth quarter on March 28. Their families were initially informed the day after they were arrested that they would be released from Pakokku Military Hospital. However, two of the men were later reported dead.
“They said they would release all four. They told us that there could be a family member for each inmate, so I went, ”said the cousin of one of the detainees, Win Kyaw, who was in his forties.
“It wasn’t until I arrived that they called again to say that Ko Win Kyaw had died. They said the body could not be brought to his home, so the funeral was taking place there, ”he added.
Win Kyaw’s sister, who was his only immediate family member, was not allowed to attend the funeral.
The body of another inmate, Saw Tun, who was also over 40 years old, was taken to Monywa, where a funeral was held on March 30th without his family present.
A resident of Myit Chay, located in the Magway region near the ancient capital, Bagan, said the other two men’s families had received no information about their fate.
The relatives of the missing detainees and those killed in custody have gone into hiding, the resident of Myit Chay added.
The arrests came the day after street fighting broke out in the 8th quarter of Myit Chay between some local youth and a group of supporters of the Union’s Army-backed Solidarity and Development.
Two of the teenagers suffered ear injuries, and another received a stab wound on the wrist, according to the attending physician.
The following afternoon, six military trucks drove into the neighborhood and arrested the four men.
Across the country there have been numerous cases of demonstrators and others, including members of the former ruling party, the National League for Democracy, who died in custody after being tortured by their police or by military kidnappers.
The bodies of those killed in raids or after their arrest are often clandestinely disposed of by the regime’s armed forces and their families are never informed.
Cases of protesters and prisoners whose bodies were never recovered have been reported in Yangon and Mandalay regions, Dawei in Tanintharyi region, Aungban and Muse in Shan state, and Pakokku and Myit Chay in Magway region.
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