Man Accused of Thingyan Bombing Dies at Home

By Nyein Nyein, Political Prisoners 4 January 2013

Phyo Wai Aung, the man accused of carrying out a deadly bombing during the Burmese water festival in 2010, has died just months after his release from prison from an illness that went untreated while he was still in custody.

Family members said he died at his home in Rangoon’s Kyauk Myaung Township at around 3 am on Friday.

The 33-year-old engineer was sentenced to death in May of last year for his alleged role in a series of bombings that killed at least 10 people and injured around 100 others during festivities to mark Thingyan, the Burmese new year, in April 2010. He was subsequently released under a presidential pardon on Aug. 3, 2012.

Following his arrest on April 23, 2010, Phyo Wai Tha was allegedly tortured while undergoing interrogation and later suffered from health problems stemming from his mistreatment. His condition went untreated until two days after he was sentenced to death in a closed trial, when he was admitted to Insein General Hospital and diagnosed with liver cancer.

When he was released from custody last August, he told The Irrawaddy that he was “arrested mistakenly” and that the political system was at fault.

Due to his rapidly deteriorating health in prison, Phyo Wai Aung suffered from paralysis of the lower half of his body. After his release, he was hospitalized in Insein and Rangoon hospitals, but his health did not improve.

His brother-in-law Aung Myint told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Phyo Wai Aung returned to his home from the hospital 16 days ago.

“He was able to speak until the last night before he died,” said Aung Myint. “It is such a loss for our family, as well as for the country,” he added.

Phyo Wai Aung’s body has been taken to the Yay Way Muslim cemetery, where he will be buried later today. He leaves behind his wife and two children, aged 8 and 4.