Man who Helped Extinguish Fire Tortured to Death in Myanmar Regime Custody

By The Irrawaddy 8 April 2021

Doubts have been expressed about the cause of death of a civilian who died in military custody in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State.

Ko Aung Paing Htwe, 30, was arrested by junta security forces while he was extinguishing a fire at a ward administration office in Taunggyi on the night of April 4.

His dead body was returned by the regime two days later. A post-mortem report by a military medic claims he died of a brain hemorrhage and lung injuries caused by a crash with a fire engine.

“The autopsy report says his brain bled in the car crash, and that his lung was punctured as he hit the steering wheel,” said a family member.

However, signs of severe torture were obvious on his body said fellow ward residents. His head was cracked open, his face was covered in bruises, one of his ears had almost been cut off, and there was a knife wound in his back. Wounds in his chest had been stitched back together.

Ko Aung Paing Htwe was one of at least four people arrested by regime forces after helping to extinguish the fire in Nyaungphyu Sakhan ward in Taunggyi on April 4. The fire broke out following the sound of a blast at the office.

As of Wednesday, a total of 598 people have been killed nationwide by junta security forces since the military’s Feb.1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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