Myanmar Regime Hunts Down Prominent Critics

By The Irrawaddy 11 April 2021

Some of Myanmar’s prominent actors, artists, activists, media personalities, doctors and Buddhist monks are among those recently detained, charged and sentenced by the military regime.

The junta issues a daily list of arrest warrants against its critics.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which tracks detentions, the regime had detained more than 3,000 people by April 10 and issued arrest warrants for 656 people.

On Friday, actor Pyay Ti Oo and actress Eaindra Kyaw Zin, a celebrity couple, were arrested. Both academy award winners face incitement charges for opposing the regime. The couple publicly supported the civil disobedience movement against the junta.

Actors Lu Min, Ye Tike and Paing Takhon, renowned comedian Zaganar and beauty blogger Win Min Than were earlier detained.

Celebrity couple Pyay Ti Oo and Eaindra Kyaw Zin.

Women rights defender Daw Thin Thin Aung, co-founder of the Mizzima News Agency and Women’s League of Burma (WLB), was abducted by the regime’s forces on Thursday.

The WLB said in a statement that she was arrested in the evening of April 8 and taken to the notorious Yay Kyi Eaing Investigation Center.

“We are extremely concerned about the life and safety of Thin Thin Aung,” the group said, calling for her release.

A former member of Mizzima Media, ethnic Chin James Pu Thoure, was detained with her without facing any charges. Mizzima Media released a statement saying both had resigned from the organization after the February coup.

“Mizzima fears for the lives of both its former members and appeals for their early release,” it stated.

Friends said there is no news about them. More than 30 journalists are in detention.

In Hpa-an of Karen State, pediatrician Dr. Ohn Ohn Yi was abducted after she refused to treat a police officer’s child, Myanmar Now reported. The police sued the doctor under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code.

The 57-year-old, who retired from a government hospital but still runs a small clinic, posted that she had joined the civil disobedience movement and would not treat the children of soldiers and police who are killing unarmed civilians.

Doctors and clinics aiding those wounded by the regime’s forces are also being targeted. On Sunday morning, Dr. Wai Yan Myo Lwin, a physician providing free treatment at a charity clinic in Bago Region was detained, news outlets in Bago reported.

The clinic was jointly run by Dr. Nay Myo, who was detained on April 2.

On Saturday, Yaypu Sayadaw, a senior Buddhist monk in the ruby hub Mogoke in Mandalay Region, was sentenced to three years in prison along with around 25 laymen. They were detained during a violent crackdown on anti-regime protests in the town.

Yaypu Sayadaw was seized while trying to stop police brutality against protesters and forced to disrobe while in detention.

On Thursday the regime’s forces raided the Pan Pyo Iatt monastery in Bago Region, which has a well-known philanthropic school for orphans and impoverished children.

The Bago media reported that soldiers and police forced monastery guests to kneel and five of them were taken away.

The monastery confirmed the raid, saying the monastery’s abbot, Asin Pyin Nyaw Bha Tha, fled to India after the raid.

“The school is in good condition, except for facing financial problems for the monks’ alms as the key to the safe was confiscated,” the Friday statement said. The Irrawaddy could not contact the monastery for an update.

To evade arrest, many activists, protest leaders and striking government staff are in hiding.

The regime is increasingly detaining the relatives and friends of those in hiding.

On Tuesday, the girlfriend and two friends of Kyaw Ko Ko, a former All Burma Federation of Student Unions chair, were arrested at a checkpoint near Naypyitaw, as the activist went into hiding to evade arrest.

Ma Su Zarli Shein, Ko Myo Myint Tun and Ko Ngwar Ja were traveling from Yangon to Kayah State for work reasons.

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