Detained Journalists’ Families Allowed First Prison Visit

By The Irrawaddy 3 July 2017

YANGON — Family members of journalists detained in northern Shan State said their loved ones are “in good health” after they were allowed prison visits for the first time on Monday.

Lawi Weng, also known as U Thein Zaw, from The Irrawaddy, and U Aye Nai and Pyae Bone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma were arrested by the Myanmar Army on Monday, June 26, and and handed over to the police last Thursday. They have been charged under the Unlawful Associations Act and are being detained at Hsipaw Prison in northern Shan State.

On Monday, family members of Lawi Weng and U Aye Nai were allowed a 45-minute visit and were able to deliver food. The family members of another DVB reporter, Pyae Bone Aung, are on their way to Hsipaw, according to U Khin Maung Soe, the multimedia editor at DVB.

“Ko Aye Nai’s family members said he is okay,” he told The Irrawaddy.

U Khin Maung Win, Lawi Weng’s elder brother, met him on Monday afternoon at the prison with a lawyer. He told The Irrawaddy said his younger brother was “in good health,” and has been “treated well.”

He said his younger brother had told him that he had not been subjected to abuse in the army’s interrogation sessions during his initial detention by the military.

“But [Lawi] said they had to sleep on the floor during the interrogation and it was cold. They were surrounded by dozens of soldiers with guns outside,” said U Khin Maung Win.

The three journalists were arrested near Namhsan on their way back from covering a drug-burning ceremony held by the ethnic armed group the Ta’ang National Liberation Army on Monday to mark the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse.