Myanmar’s Ousted NLD Says Over 570 Members Arrested by Junta So Far

By The Irrawaddy 1 December 2021

As of Tuesday, Myanmar’s military regime had arrested 573 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of whom 12 have died at the hands of the regime, the party’s Central Working Committee confirmed.

Those killed include seven party members who were tortured to death during interrogation and five who otherwise died in detention, according to the committee.

Additionally, Monywa Aung Shin, the secretary of the party’s Information Committee, who was detained for more than eight months, died of a heart attack on Nov. 28, within weeks of his release from a notorious Yangon interrogation center.

Since the coup, the regime has targeted NLD members as it tries to eliminate the party through arrests, violence and legal persecution, while NLD offices have been raided, vandalized and forced to close. Numerous party members are in hiding after the regime issued warrants for their arrest.

The NLD formed the Central Working Committee at the end of October to continue carrying out the party’s policies, as almost all of its leaders and Central Executive Committee members are currently detained.

The first NLD member to be killed during interrogation was U Khin Maung Latt, the party’s ward chairman in Pabedan Township, Yangon. The 58-year-old Muslim died as the result of being tortured, just hours after he was detained.

He was violently beaten and kicked before being dragged away from his home on March 6. The next morning U Khin Maung Latt’s family, having been informed that he died after “fainting”, retrieved his body from Mingaladon military hospital. His head and back were badly wounded and his body was covered in a bloody shroud.

U Khin Maung Latt was tortured to death hours after he was detained.

A day after U Khin Maung Latt’s funeral, another NLD member, Ko Zaw Myat Lynn, who was in charge of the Suu Vocational Institute in Shwepyithar Township, Yangon, was arrested at night. The following morning, his family was notified that he had died.

The prominent 46-year-old community leader, who led anti-regime protests, was believed to have been tortured to death. Horrific photographs of his body support the allegation. His face was badly disfigured, the flesh of his mouth had melted away and the skin on his face was peeling off. His body was bruised. His widow, Ko Zaw Myat Lynn, said he suffered a large abdominal wound and his intestines had fallen out.

The military claimed Ko Zaw Myat Lynn fell 9 meters onto a steel pipe while climbing a fence behind his school in an attempt to escape. His widow says the fence is less than 2.5 meters high.

Ko Zaw Myat Lin, who was in charge of the Suu Vocational Institute in Shwepyithar Township, died while under military detention. / Facebook

The other party members known to have been tortured to death are U Kyaw Kyaw, an executive member of the NLD’s branch in Zabuthiri Township, Naypyitaw; U Soe San, an NLD village tract chair in Wundwin Township, Mandalay Region; Mandalay-based political activist and philanthropist Ko Than Htun Oo, aka Ko Min Ko Thein, a member of the NLD’s Mandalay branch; and party members U Phyo Wai Tun and U Kyaw San Oo.

Among the other five who died in detention were NLD Central Executive Committee member U Nyan Win, who served as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s longtime personal attorney, and NLD elected lawmaker U Nyunt Shwe, who was also a chair of the party’s Bago Township office. They both died of COVID-19 while in custody.

U Nyan Win, a National League for Democracy legal adviser, died of COVID-19 after being detained by the military junta. / The Irrawaddy

The NLD came to power after a landslide victory in the 2015 general election, and won an even greater majority in the election in November last year. It was set to start its second term when the military seized power on Feb. 1 and arrested most of the party’s leaders, including State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.

The regime justified the coup by accusing the NLD of manipulating the vote, despite no international or domestic election monitoring groups finding any significant evidence of electoral fraud. The junta annulled the results of the election, in which the military’s proxy parties suffered heavy defeats.

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