YANGON — The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) says it will investigate the death of an Irrawaddy Region man while in police custody last month.
The body of U Kyaw Aye, 50, a resident of Su Twin Myit Kalay Village in Irrawaddy Region’s Wakema Township, was returned to his family six days after he was arrested by three officers from a local police station. The man’s sister-in-law, Daw Than Than Moe, filed a complaint with the MNHRC last week.
MNHRC Secretary U Phone Kywe told The Irrawaddy what the commission would begin an investigation on Thursday.
According to Daw Than Than Moe, police arrested U Kyaw Aye on March 21, a day after a village administrator got into a brawl with him and his wife when he intervened in a quarrel the couple was having.
Daw Than Than Moe said he was arrested on a complaint from the administrator by two corporals and a constable from the Nga Pyaw Chaung police station and transferred to the Wakema central police station, where the township court denied him bail.
“I was there at the Wakema Township court that day. His face was covered in black and purple bruises so that I could hardly recognize him,” Daw Than Than Moe told The Irrawaddy.
She said the family heard nothing from him after that and was informed of his death on the morning of March 27. The family was asked to retrieve his body from the Wakema People’s Hospital and to open the body bag only at home.
“When we opened it, the intestines were outside of the body, his eyes were badly bruised, and his head was also shaved,” Daw Than Than Moe said.
“We saw the injuries on his legs apparently caused by contact with something hot. His penis was cut off, and his ribs were apparently kicked with boots. He died from brutal torture,” she said.
U Kyaw Aye is survived by his paralyzed wife and 8-year-old daughter.
“I want effective actions to be taken against the perpetrators including the villager administrator,” said Daw Than Than Moe.
U Zaw Yan, a member of a local community-based human rights group helping the family, said his group has filed complaints with the authorities including the office of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I am really worried that police have entrenched attitudes that they can crack cases only by beating suspects,” he said.
The Wakema central police station could not be reached for comment.
In June, also in Irrawaddy Region, a suspected thief died while in police custody at the Dedaye Township police station. In May, police at the Labutta Township police station in Irrawaddy were demoted after they tortured two suspected burglars.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.