Political Prisoners Group Joins Calls for Release of Abducted Shan Woman

By Nyein Nyein 27 September 2018

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has urged the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) to release Nang Mo Hom, who has been detained for 42 days, on Thursday.

In a statement it released on Sept. 27, the AAPP said, “From our own experiences while in detention, we know she could face forced confession either by threats or abuses. We, the AAPP, strongly object to this long detention of Nang Mo Hom and are concerned for her physical and mental health.”

Nang Mo Hom was arrested at gunpoint by TNLA soldiers on Aug. 17 at her home in Namkham, northern Shan State. Earlier this month, the TNLA put her on trial under its own court for obstructing its troops as they attempted to collect customs duties and saying that her actions had resulted in the death of one of the officers in July 2017.

Despite calls for her release from the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, the Namkham Youth Network, her family members and concerned locals, the Shan woman remains in detention.

On Sept. 17, thousands gathered to protest in Shan State’s Namkham Township calling for her release.

When contacted on Thursday, TNLA spokesperson Mai Aik Kyaw said, “there is no development” on the case, which can be implied that they have no intention to release her as of yet.

He did not elaborate on details but told The Irrawaddy that they “won’t comment any further unless there is an update.”

“We are trying to directly communicate with the TNLA as this is a violation of human rights against a civilian. It is also a threat against a woman and it affects the rule of law in the society,” said U Tate Naing, the AAPP’s secretary.

However, he said, the organization is concerned for its own sake as to whether they would be charged under Article 17 of the Unlawful Association Act if they were to communicate directly with the TNLA for Nang Mo Hong’s release.

“We don’t know the government’s perspective on this,” he added, saying that the authorities and their peace-negotiating body, the NRPC, has “the responsibility to intervene on this issue.”

The AAPP urged that any armed forces, including the government’s Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed organizations, must work to protect the lives of civilians.

“Similarly if we ignore such arrests made at gunpoint by any armed group, it creates a worrisome situation for public safety.”

The Irrawaddy contacted Dr. Tin Myo Win, the NRPC’s vice-chairman and chairman of the Peace Commission, to know what efforts the group is making for the Shan woman’s release on Thursday.  However, in response, Dr. Tin Myo Win said it is “not my direct job” and referred us to the peace commission’s secretary for further comments. The secretary of the Peace Commission could not be reached by the time of publication.

According to a source close to the NRPC, there are no updates on efforts for securing Nang Mo Hom’s release as of Thursday.