Wife Fears for the Fate of Snr NLD Leader Detained by Myanmar Regime

By The Irrawaddy 30 June 2021

The wife of detained National League for Democracy (NLD) information secretary Monywa Aung Shin has expressed her fears for the safety and health of her 76-year-old husband, after revealing that she has had no word of him or his whereabouts since his arrest nearly five months ago.

Monywa Aung Shin, an outspoken politician who suffers from asthma, was arrested by regime forces at his home in Yangon’s Tamwe Township at around 4:30am on Feb. 1, the day the junta overthrew the democratically-elected NLD-led government.

He was one of around 150 senior NLD leaders and central executive committee members, prominent activists, writers, and monks who were arrested on the first day of the coup.

His wife, Daw Kay Thwe Moe, said that the armed men, including two in military uniform, who came to detain her husband told her that they would take him “for a moment” for questioning. At around 2pm on the same day, an officer returned with a handwritten letter from Monywa Aung Shin asking his wife to give them some clothes and his medicine. The elderly politician always needs to carry an asthma inhaler.

But since then, his wife has received no word from Monywa Aung Shin or the military regime and has no idea where he is being detained.

“I can’t sleep or eat properly as I don’t know whether he is okay or even still alive. I am so worried for him,” said Daw Kay Thwe Moe. “They [the regime] should at least contact the family and let us know his condition. But we have heard nothing from them,” she added.

A member of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which tracks regime detentions and killings, said that the junta had violated international law by forcibly disappearing several people since the coup, refusing to let their families know their location and denying them access to lawyers and relatives.

The AAPP member cited the case of a student from Yangon’s East Dagon Township who was arrested recently, but whose family has no idea of his well-being or where he is being held.

Film producer Ma Aeint, who was arrested by regime forces shortly after leaving her home at around midday on June 5, is another ‘disappeared’ person whose family has no knowledge of her whereabouts.

They were simply told that she is being detained at an undisclosed place undergoing military interrogation. It was recently revealed that Ma Aeint was hospitalized for ten days for severe injuries received while she was being tortured. The reason for her arrest is still unknown.

Enforced disappearances are grave violations of international law and, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population, are crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch, a New York-based international human rights watchdog, said in a statement.

Over 6,000 people have been arrested since the coup and 5,224 remain under detention, according to the AAPP.

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