Detained 5-year-old girl from Mogok released, reunited with father

A five-year-old girl from Mogok Township in Mandalay Region who had been detained for more than two weeks has been released and reunited with her father. 

Mogok’s central police station released Su Htet Wine on Wednesday afternoon, but her 44-year-old mother and 17-year-old sister remained in detention. 

All three were taken into regime custody on June 13 when soldiers could not locate Soe Htay, Su Htet Wine’s father, for whom an arrest warrant had been issued by the military council for incitement.

Su Htet Wine spent her fifth birthday in prison on June 28. 

When she was released on Wednesday, locals reunited the girl with her father, who is still in hiding from the junta authorities.

He told Myanmar Now that his daughter was traumatised by her time in detention.  

“She used to be such a lively kid, but now, she seems very detached,” Soe Htay said. “She didn’t get to eat properly and she told me that she had to shower with toilet water while she was detained.”

Su Htet Wine had previously accompanied her father to protests in Mogok when he deemed it was safe to do so. He said that she would cry if he did not bring her along. 

Soe Htay noted that despite her young age, Su Htet Wine had a particular admiration for detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, had carried her photos at demonstrations, and inquired about her following her own release. 

“All she asked was, ‘is Granny Suu released yet?’ When we told her that she wasn’t, she went back to being detached and depressed,” Soe Htay told Myanmar Now.  

He said that he had received no update on his wife and elder daughter’s condition in detention. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact the Mogok police station and the junta’s information officers for comment but the calls went unanswered. 

Soe Htay’s two other children, a 15-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter, are also in hiding. 

It has become a common practice for the junta’s armed forces to detain the family members of those targeted for arrest when the individual for whom they are searching is on the run. 

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has been compiling information on those arrested by the coup regime, as of June 24, 76 minors were in junta detention. The youngest is just two years old.  

The military council has not released any statement regarding the children in its prisons. 

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