A former civil servant who joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against military rule died days after his arrest in northern Shan State more than a year ago, his family has recently learned.
Htay Lin Aung was a deputy staff officer with the General Administration Department in Shan State’s Nawnghkio Township when he decided to quit his job in support of the CDM shortly after the military seized power in February 2021.
After several attempts to arrest him for taking part in anti-regime protests, the junta finally managed to apprehend him at a toll gate near the entrance to the town of Kyaukme on March 8, 2022.
His family completely lost contact with him after that and has only recently received confirmation of his death in custody six days later, a source close to the family told Myanmar Now.
According to the source, who did not want to be named, appeals to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations that provide assistance to political prisoners failed to yield any information about Htay Lin Aung’s fate.
However, a reliable source with knowledge of the case recently informed his family that he was beaten to death at the Kyaukme District Interrogation Centre for refusing to betray others taking part in the CDM.
“His hands were tied behind his back and his head was covered with a cloth. He chose to die. He gave his life to protect others,” said the family friend, citing the inside source.
Now that they know for sure what has happened to Htay Lin Aung, his wife and children will hold a donation ceremony in his memory, the family friend added.
An estimated 70% of civil servants in Nawnghkio Township joined the CDM after the coup. Many are currently being held in Lashio Prison, where they are serving long sentences for opposing the regime.
A number of people taking part in the CDM around the country are known to have died in junta custody.
Win Lwin, a teacher from Sintgaing Township in Mandalay Region, was reported dead a day after his arrest on November 1, 2021. Another teacher from Mandalay Region’s Thabeikkyin Township named Zaw Min Aung died just hours after his arrest later in the same month.
Hlaing Win, a teacher from Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu Region, was killed within days of his arrest in December 2021, and in October of last year, another CDM teacher named Saw Moe Tun was beheaded by regime forces in Pauk Township, Magway Region.
According to the latest figures released by the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP), the Myanmar junta continues to hold a total of 19,311 dissidents, including some ousted government leaders, in its custody.
The AAPP also claims that as of July 4, at least 3,745 people have died at the hands of the regime over the past two and a half years.