Myanmar Charity Secretary Detained After COVID-19 Vaccination

By The Irrawaddy 6 August 2021

A former political prisoner and the Hanthawaddy U Win Tin Foundation’s secretary, U Kyaw Aung, was detained on Wednesday at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Yangon.

U Tun Kyi, another member of the foundation and political prisoner, said the foundation received a phone call from U Kyaw Aung reporting his detention in Pazundaung Township.

U Kyaw Aung, around 70, had been told by an administrator that he was eligible for vaccination because of his age, U Tun Kyi said. He was detained after being vaccinated, U Tun Kyi said.

“I told him before not to trust the regime’s vaccination process. But as he was sick and anxious about COVID-19 and wanted to be vaccinated,” U Tun Kyi said.

Founded by late democracy activist and journalist Hanthawaddy U Win Tin, the foundation aims to support former political prisoners and their families.

The ousted civilian government launched a “no one left behind” vaccination program for over-18s and purchased 30 million Covishield doses from India and received 1.5 million vaccines as a present in an initial bath.

But the program was disrupted by the February coup. The regime recently restarted the vaccination campaign, starting with over-65s.

A family member contacted by The Irrawaddy confirmed the arrest and said he was being held at the township police station.

U Kyaw Aung, who is also the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) Pazundaung Township vice-chairman, was charged under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code soon after the Feb. 1 coup, the relative said.

Hundreds of activists, politicians, medics and civil servants, who joined the civil disobedience movement, also face incitement charges under Article 505(a), forcing them into hiding. Many citizens have seen the vaccination program as a trap to make arrests.

Since the Feb. 1 coup, at least 948 civilians have been killed by the regime and more than 7,000, including more than 100 NLD members, have been detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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