Arakanese Arrested for Intelligence Officer's Murder, Beaten in Custody: Friends, Relatives

By Moe Myint 24 December 2018

YANGON — A member of the Arakan National Party (ANP) was arrested in Yangon on Dec. 15 in connection with the murder of a military intelligence officer and is in poor health after four days of interrogation by the Military Security Affairs Unit, according to a friend and a relative.

Ko Ni Aung Zaw, also known as Ko Ye Zaw, was arrested while attending an event with friends at the National Races Village in Thaketa Township and transferred to Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, on Dec. 19, according to a friend who declined to be named for fear of reprisal from security forces.

The friend said he visited Ko Ye Zaw at the Sittwe Hospital, where he was receiving medical treatment and was shackled by the hands and feet. He said his friend was arrested as a suspect in the fatal shooting of Corporal Win Htike in Sittwe on Sept. 25.

Video footage shared with The Irrawaddy shows him being escorted to the hospital on Monday.

Ko Ye Zaw’s brother, Ko Aye Tun Oo, said Sittwe police are suing his sibling under Article 302 of the Penal Code for murder. He claimed that his brother was beaten with sticks while in custody, forced to stand for hours on end while being interrogated, and made to confess to shooting Cpl. Win Htike.

“Because of the pain and harsh interrogation both day and night, he is now seriously ill and receiving medical treatment at Sittwe Hospital,” said Ko Aye Tun Oo.

The Arakan Youth Conference (AYC) released a statement on the condition of Ko Ye Zaw, one of its members, on its Facebook page on Monday. It said Ko Ye Zaw had hypertension, jaundice and a backache. It said he received an x-ray exam at about 3 p.m. and that three police officers were stationed at the hospital to watch him.

The AYC sad Ko Ye Zaw was innocent of the crime and that he was traveling from Sittwe to Yangon when the shooting occurred.

Police in Sittwe arrested two AYC members and an ANP member in October in connection with the intelligence officer’s murder, but they were later released on bail by a court.

The ANP said it was trying to arrange a defense lawyer for Ko Ye Zaw.