‘They hit my chest and back with rifle butts’: Myanmar Teenage Detainee

By The Irrawaddy 31 March 2021

An 18-year-old man was briefly detained and beaten on Monday by Myanmar’s security forces in Monywa, Sagaing Region. He told The Irrawaddy about how he was detained and beaten.

How did you get detained?

I was riding my motorbike back home when they shouted at me to stop. I continued and they threw a bamboo stick at me, saying I swore at them. I was hit in my head and could not move. They then detained and punched me. There were around 20 of them.

They handcuffed and hit me with gun butts in my chest and also kicked my back with their boots. They hit my chest and back with rifles.

To where were you taken?

They didn’t take me anywhere. An officer came and told them to release me. I am not 18 and can’t be imprisoned. Before the officer came, they beat me without questioning. They pretended to interrogate me only when the officer came. I had nothing [illegal] on my motorbike or my phone. So I was released.

Did you swear at them as they said?

I was just riding home. I didn’t swear at them. They threw a stick at me for no reason.

How are your injuries?

I had bumps on my head and dark circles around my eyes. My chest is swollen and my waist hurts. I went to hospital on Tuesday.

Which uniforms were they wearing?

There were around 20 of them, including the police. They made a false report to their officer that I had already been put onto the military truck but I jumped off and attempted to run away. They had not put me on the truck. They started beating me once I was pulled off the bike. The police didn’t beat me. It is soldiers who beat and kicked me. But the police also made a false report to the military officer.

What did they ask you when you were detained?

They asked me if I swore at them. I said I didn’t and I was just going on my way. They hit me for replying like that. They checked my phone, looked into Gallery and Facebook, and also searched my motorbike.

What were the security forces doing? Were they dispersing anti-regime protesters?

No, they were just deployed on the streets, as usual, to prevent people from gathering.

What do you want to say about the beating?

I urge everyone to exercise caution while outside. They run wild, especially in the evenings, because they are drunk and high.

How do you know about drug use?

They were injecting themselves before my eyes. I saw them injecting on the truck as I was dragged by them. Some apparently don’t understand Burmese. Those who beat and kicked me didn’t speak Burmese. They were also drunk. I could smell liquor.

Could you see clearly what was happening in the truck?

Yes, I saw clearly.

You said you were dragged. Were you dragged onto the truck?

I was not yet on the truck. But it was not far. It was fewer than 10 footsteps. I was told to turn back when they saw anti-regime protesters coming. I was already bleeding from my mouth and nose.


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