Seven-Year-Old Son of Detained Myanmar Health Official Still in Prison

By The Irrawaddy 2 July 2021

Myanmar’s junta continues to detain the 7-year-old son of the former head of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program, despite recently releasing more than 2,200 political detainees including 5-year-old Ma Su Thet Wyne, the country’s youngest detainee at the time of her release.

Ma Su Htet Wyne

Maung Aung Thukhamein Lin, 7, was arrested by junta forces along with his mother, Daw Htar Htar Lin, the national immunization director at the Ministry of Health and Sports, and father, U Nyi Nyi Aung, at their home in Yangon on June 10.

During the arrest, Dr. Aye Aye Nyein, who is a friend of the national immunization director, and her daughter were also taken into custody.

On June 12, junta-controlled media said Dr. Htar Htar Lin formed the Civil Disobedience Movement’s (CDM) core group and assisted the National Unity Government (NUG), which has been designated a terrorist group by the junta.

The junta also said the doctor would be prosecuted under Article 17 of the Unlawful Association Act and Article 505(a) of the Penal Code for communicating with the “terrorist organization” and working with Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, who is in hiding and serves as the acting health minister in the NUG.

The military regime on Wednesday released more than 2,200 political detainees including Ma Su Thet Wyne, who was detained with her mother and sister as hostages after junta forces failed to find her father, Ko Soe Htay, a leader of anti-regime protests in Mandalay Region’s Mogoke town.

However, the whereabouts of Dr. Htar Htar Lin’s family and her friend’s family are still unknown. The 7-year-old son of the doctor has not been released yet.

A doctor who is close with Dr. Htar Htar Lin said, “The boy is very clever. His pet dog is also detained with him. This is unacceptable, as it has been 21 days. I pray for the urgent release of the boy.”

Another friend of Dr. Htar Htar Lin said, “Detaining the innocent boy means that the military regime is committing a worse crime. Please, speak out for the immediate release of the boy.”

The friend added, “He has been in custody for three weeks. How many of this child’s rights have been violated? We don’t dare imagine the boy’s trauma.”

Meanwhile, the youngest detainee, Ma Su Htet Wyne, who was released on Wednesday, has been traumatized by her arrest, her father Ko Soe Htay said on his Facebook account on Thursday.

On Thursday, the girl and her father had to move to another location as the junta’s forces are hunting them.

Ko Soe Htay said, “She told me she had not had enough meals in custody and that she had to bathe in toilet water.”

The 5-year-old girl was detained for more than two weeks with her mother and sister.

Junta forces abducted them as hostages after failing to find Ko Soe Htay at their home.

The father is on a list of those for whom arrest warrants have been issued by the junta on incitement charges for organizing anti-regime demonstrations.

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