Authorities claim night guard whose body showed signs of torture died in a ‘motorbike accident’

Authorities in Yangon have tried to claim that a man whose body showed signs of torture died in a motorbike accident, his wife has said.

Kyaw Lin Htwe, 39, from Insein township, was volunteering as a community night guard in Aung San ward early on Monday morning when a suspicious car entered the neighbourhood.  

He followed the car on a motorbike and never came back. When family members went looking for him they found out he was dead.

The family tracked his body down at the Hlaing Tharyar General Hospital, where staff told them he had died in a motorbike accident, said Zar Ni Win, his wife.

“There’s no way his injuries were accidental. His face was swollen and bruised,” she told Myanmar Now. 

Kyaw Lin Htwe had bruised eyes, a broken nose, a puncture in his head, lacerations in his right temple and shoulder, and a knife injury in his stomach when the family retrieved it at around 11am on Monday, she added. 

While his body showed severe injuries, the motorbike showed no signs of damage besides a broken headlight, she said.

The military similarly tried to blame a motorbike accident after soldiers were caught on CCTV shooting a teenager in Dawei late last month. 

Police, soldiers and township administration officials called an ambulance to send Kyaw Lin Htwe’s body to the hospital. They then sent traffic police a photo of him lying dead next to an upright motorbike as evidence he had died in a crash.

By the time the traffic police arrived at the scene, his body was gone.

“A witness said it happened at the entrance of a school,” Zar Ni Win said. “They saw someone take him inside and bring him back out and call the ambulance. The driver took him to the hospital and said it was an accident, like they told him to.” 

The forensic pathologist at the hospital did not give the family an autopsy report.

Kyaw Lin Htwe’s family quickly had him cremated at Yangon’s Yay Way cemetery after retrieving the body.

After losing his job at a hotel due to the pandemic, Kyaw Lin Htwe made a living as a motorbike taxi driver. He is survived by two young daughters.


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