Prominent Myanmar activist killed by torture in military detention, evidence show


Prominent activist and official from ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi‘s National League for Democracy (NLD) party has died in custody following alleged torture while in detention by junta forces, photographic evidence have shown.

Zaw Myat Lynn, a community organiser, was arrested in the early hours of March 08 from a school on the outskirts of Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar.

Later that day he was reported dead, the second NLD official to die in custody in the same number of days.

The military authorities claimed that the activist died after falling nine metres onto a metal fence while trying to escape from custody.

Zaw Myat Lynn, 46, had been at the forefront of local anti-coup protests. He shared graphic videos of soldiers beating and shooting peaceful demonstrators.

What was not reported last week was the true extent and nature of the injuries to Zaw Myat Lynn’s body which supports allegations he had been savagely tortured.

Photographs which have been circulated on social media show his head with teeth missing, his tongue melted and skin from his face peeling off, consistent with the use of chemical solution or boiling water as a form of torture.

While the body was wrapped up, seemingly to cover other injuries, the Guardian reported that he had also suffered a stab wound to the abdomen, seemingly made by a cross-sectional knife which could have been the cause of death.

The activist was playing an active role in the local anti-coup protests in Yangon and had repeatedly shared on social media videos of soldiers killing unarmed protesters. Like many protesters, his posts referred to the military as “terrorists”.

Since the coup on February 01 when Myanmar’s military removed the democratically-elected government of Ms. Suu Kyi, protests have continued despite the use of lethal force by the authorities and subsequent statements from the international community condemning the violence.

On Tuesday, the UN human rights office said at least 149 civilians have now been killed by the military in Myanmar since the coup, with UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani calling on the authorities to cease the bloodshed.

Besides those killed, since the coup thousands of people have been arrested and hundreds have been handed prison sentences.

The authorities in Myanmar have also detained an official from a foundation linked to billionaire philanthropist George Soros and are looking for 11 other employees on suspicions that they gave funds to those protesting against the coup.

Ms. Suu Kyi, who was among those detained when the coup began at the start of February, has been charged on a number of counts including possession of illegally-gotten cash and gold in a bid to tighten the case against her.

In November 2020 elections, Ms. Suu Kyi’s NLD won 396 out of the 476 available seats in comparison to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party that won only 33 seats.

The military had cried election fraud, though the independent election commission dismissed the allegations before it was dissolved in the aftermath of the coup. (Source: The Independent)