Myanmar's Jailed Senior NLD Members Moved to Hospital, One Infected With COVID-19

By The Irrawaddy 23 July 2021

Two senior detained members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) have been moved from Insein Prison to Yangon General Hospital, according to their lawyers.

NLD legal adviser U Kyaw Ho was taken to hospital on Wednesday with difficulty breathing. He tested negative for coronavirus and is likely to be tested again next week, said U Kyaw Ho’s lawyer.

“He had heart surgery and needed hospital treatment and is still on oxygen support as he is out of breath,” said his lawyer.

U Kyaw Ho has been detained since early February by Myanmar’s regime.

U Han Thar Myint, another NLD central executive committee member, was infected with coronavirus in Insein Prison and taken to hospital last week.

“His oxygen level keeps falling. His oxygen saturation drops to 80 once oxygen is disconnected. He needs oxygen support at all times. His condition is poor,” said U Han Thar Myint’s lawyer.

The military regime has detained senior NLD leaders, including older members. While most of them are on medication for health problems, they were denied bail and forced to remain in crowded prisons as the country is gripped by a fresh wave of COVID-19.

NLD’s CEC member and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s long-time personal lawyer U Nyan Win died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, while detained. The 79-year-old was arrested on the morning of the Feb.1 coup and held in Insein Prison, where he caught coronavirus.

NLD government’s Yangon Region chief minister U Phyo Min Thein and his wife have also been reportedly been infected with coronavirus while being detained at a military interrogation center in Mingaladon Township, Yangon. He was taken to a military hospital after he lost consciousness on July 17.

There were also reports that the NLD’s Yangon region minister U Naing Ngan Lin and Dr. Htar Htar Lin, who pushed for Myanmar to receive COVID-19 vaccines under the NLD government, have also caught the virus in Insein Prison. The Correctional Department has denied the two were infected.

While COVID-19 deaths are increasing across the country, many political prisoners are sick and displaying COVID-19 and flu symptoms, said lawyers and recently released inmates.

On Friday morning, inmates staged a protest inside Insein Prison, complaining about overcrowding, COVID-19 infections and a lack of proper protection and treatment of the virus.

Inmates at Shwe Bo Prison in Sagaing Region and Obo Prison in Mandalay Region have also protested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The Australian, Canadian, European Union, French, German, US and nine other embassies issued a joint statement urging the junta to respect the basic right to proper healthcare for all prisoners.

The shadow National Unity Government (NUG) formed to rival the military regime accused the junta of using COVID-19 as a weapon to persecute political prisoners. The military regime will be held responsible for COVID-19 deaths in prisons, warned the NUG.

The military regime, however, is keeping political prisoners locked up and has released numerous criminals jailed for drug dealing, theft and illegal logging.

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