Burma

With No Word for a Month, Families of Detained Senior NLD Figures Worry for Their Health

By Nan Lwin 6 March 2021

YANGON—The families of five senior figures from the National League for Democracy (NLD) who have been detained by Myanmar’s military pleaded to have their loved ones released or at least to be allowed to provide them with health care. All of those being detained have serious underlying medical conditions.

Since the military staged its coup, the NLD’s entire senior leadership, including all the Central Executive Committee members,  were detained by the military. Families are not allowed to know their whereabouts.

CEC members U Nyan Win, U Thein Oo, U Han Tha Myint, Dr. Myo Nyunt, and NLD information secretary Monywa Aung Shin were arrested in Yangon early on the morning of Feb.1, soon after the military detained Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The last time Daw Khin Aye Myint saw U Thein Oo was about 4 a.m. on Feb.1, while he was being taken from his home by three men in military uniforms.

“It is [supposed to be for just] a while. They needed to discuss something with him, they said. Now, it is already more than a month,” Daw Khin Aye Myint, the wife of U Thein Oo said.

U Thein Oo, 72, has a fatty liver and benign prostatic hyperplasia diseases. He also has kidney problems and needs to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. He missed a hospital appointment in February, and his family said that he already run out of his medications.

“We told them he needed to go the hospital on Feb.21. They said they would allow him [to go] for [a] medical check-up. But in reality they did not,” Daw Khin Aye Myint said.

This is not the first time the family of U Thein Oo has suffered this sort of ordeal. The old leadership of the NLD was arrested several times after 1990 under the previous military junta. But this time, his family expects that he should be allowed a medical check-up and related health care at the least.

Daw Khin Aye Myint said, “He is not young anymore. He needs a medical checkup and to take medication.”

“If he does not drink plenty of water or eat healthy diet, it would be very dangerous for him,” his wife said.

She said that if military intends to detain him for long, the family wants them to let him meet a doctor. “They can keep him under house arrest. We both are old. I want to stay with the family no matter what,” Daw Khin Aye Myint added.

Daw Swe Phone Myint, Daw Khin Aye Myint, Khin Ohn Myint and Daw Kay Thwe Moe. (left to right) / The Irrawaddy

“It is quite frustrating every day not to know his whereabouts and what could happen to him,” his wife added.

The wife of another NLD CEC member, Dr. Myo Nyunt, said that she has no information about her husband since military personnel took him away from home on the same day.

The 68-year-old is not in good health and has suffered from osteoporosis for a long time. Medication he has taken has already run out.

Daw Khin Ohn Myint said that Dr. Myo Nyunt needs urgent treatment. If left untreated, any of the bones in his body can easily break.

“He would face a life-threatening situation if it is not [treated] urgently,” Daw Khin Ohn Myint said.

CEC member U Han Tha Myint also arrested by the military personnel on Feb.1, the day he was scheduled to go to medical appointment for additional medications. Daw Swe Phone Myint, the wife of the 73-year-old said that he had surgery for prostate cancer and has suffered related health problems including hypertension.

Daw Swe Phone Myint said, “I am sure he is mentally strong, but he is old physically.”

“He needs to go to hospital for treatment. My biggest concern is the possible deterioration of his health,” Daw Swe Phone Myint said.

No one knows the whereabouts of U Nyan Win, a CEC member and who is also a legal adviser of NLD. U Nyan Win has been diagnosed with cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart, which is often a sign of heart disease.

Daw Khin Aye Myint said, “We are worried for him too. The family deserves to know his whereabouts and needs permission [to provide] medication.”

The 75-year-old NLD information secretary, Monywa Aung Shin, has asthma and always needs to carry an asthma inhaler, said Daw Kay Thwe Moe, wife of the outspoken politician.

Daw Kay Thwe Moe said, “He [has been] in detention for more than a month. He would definitely need a new inhaler.”

“I am expecting every day, someone may come and pass a message from him. I am hoping and praying every day to meet him,” Daw Kay Thwe Moe said.

“He does not do anything wrong. They should released him now,” she added.

Families said they would be submitting a letter to Yangon Regional Military Command where they believe most of the NLD senior leaders have been held. In the letter, they have requested to meet with their loved ones and want to provide them with medications and medical care if they are not released. Since the military takeover, several NLD leaders have been arrested and charged by the military. However, the five CEC members are being held by the military without facing any charges. Given the conditions, the families more worried that their loved ones might face life-threatening situations due to the possibility of brutal interrogations by the regime.

“There are a lot rumors. Some [are rumored to have] already died in detention. I am so saddened whenever my mind [wonders] whether our people are still alive or not,” Daw Khin Ohn Myint said in a faint voice as she cried.

“I can guarantee that if I have a chance to meet him for a moment, I just want to give him medicine. I am so worried every day,” she stressed.

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