Myanmar’s regime has been killing and detaining those who oppose military rule. On April 17, as Myanmar marked its new year, junta forces detained six people from No. 4 Ward in Yankin Township, Yangon.
The military-run media reported that arms, including homemade bombs, were seized with the six detainees. It broadcast photos suggesting they had been badly beaten.
The Irrawaddy interviewed Daw Hla Hla Soe, the mother of one of the detainees, Ma Khin Nyein Thu, 31.
How was Ma Khin Nyein Thu held?
I don’t live with my daughter so I only know what her neighbors told me. Police and soldiers arrived on Saturday night and searched homes in their neighborhood. My daughter and five others were detained.
What is Ma Khin Nyein Thu’s stance?
It is like many other people. She is demanding democracy.
We heard Ma Khin Nyein Thu studied abroad. When did she arrive back in Myanmar?
She studied in the UK for around five years, specializing in performance art. She arrived back nearly seven years ago.
The Myawaddy and MRTV channels suggested they had been severely beaten. What do you want to say about it as a mother?
I didn’t watch the broadcasts. But I can feel what she is going through now. I am a Christian and I believe in God. I am praying for her. I don’t expect much but I want her to live. I am praying for all of them to be saved by God.
What do you want to say about the torture?
It is unacceptable. I heard that they were sent from Yankin police station to the Shwepyithar detention center, which is a tough place. They may suffer there. After interrogation, I heard they will probably be sent to Insein Prison. I wish they will be released and receive medical treatment.
I wish God hears my prayers. My thoughts are with the suffering hearts of other parents.
If you didn’t see the broadcast, have you seen your daughter’s face?
I saw her at the police station on April 18. One of her friends informed me about her abduction. I couldn’t go out that night due to the curfew. So the following day, I waited outside Yankin police station. I saw her coming out with two police officers.
I shouted to her and as she turned around and I saw her face. I felt her pain. She could not walk well. I heard the torture is tougher in Shwepyithar and I fear she is suffering now. I don’t want to see the photos. My daughter’s home is close to the police station so I rushed there whenever I heard she was being transferred [to Shwepyithar].
Had Ma Khin Nyein Thu already been tortured at the police station?
Her face was quite swollen that morning. I could only see her from a distance. She could only walk slowly and her face was swollen.
They were transferred on Sunday afternoon. She called me from the police station, saying they would be transferred to Insein. But I heard they were sent to Shwepyithar. I went to Insein Prison on Monday and was told they weren’t there.