Mandalay doctor believed to have been killed during interrogation turns up in prison

A clinic owner rumoured to have been killed while under interrogation after his arrest more than a month ago is actually being held in Mandalay’s Obo Prison, according to a source close to his family. 

Dr Aung Aung Tun, 28, was detained with his father, sister and another relative on April 26 for allegedly providing shelter to doctors taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), which aims to topple the junta. His home and three branches of his Thuriya clinic were subsequently sealed off. 

While two of his family members, including his father, were released, there was no update provided by the junta on Aung Aung Tun’s condition or charges since his arrest.

He has been charged with violating Section 50j of the Counterterrorism Law, according to a source close to his family, but it was not clear when the charges were filed or when he had been transferred to Obo Prison. 

“Only he and his sister are still in detention, I heard,” the source told Myanmar Now. 

It was not known at the time of reporting if Aung Aung Tun’s sister was also facing charges.

Several doctors in Mandalay told Myanmar Now that Aung Aung Tun’s arrest was a great loss to the medical field, and described him as having a “heart of gold.”

The military revoked the medical licences of 14 specialist doctors in Mandalay on March 12 and have reportedly been pressuring private hospitals and clinics to not employ staff who have taken part in the CDM and to submit daily patient lists to the junta. 

“Everyone is facing all sorts of troubles under the military’s reign,” Dr Soe Thura Zaw, who was among the doctors who lost their licences, told Myanmar Now at the time. “The only way to solve all those problems once and for all is to end the dictatorship for good.”

Around 80 percent of Mandalay’s medical personnel have joined the CDM, according to data compiled by members of the movement, with many opting to treat people privately rather than work under the junta-controlled health ministry. 

Junta personnel seen sealing a branch of Dr Aung Aung Tun’s Thuriya clinic (Supplied)

Medical staff have suffered brutal reprisals for challenging the military. In August last year Dr Maung Maung Nyein Tun died in custody of Covid-19 after being beaten and denied medical treatment. 

During a major crackdown on March 27 of last year, Mandalay-based doctor Thiha Tin Tun was one of over 100 people shot dead by security forces. 

In June, the former head of Myanmar’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, Dr Htar Htar Lin, was arrested and charged with high treason after she sought to prevent the junta from accessing funds meant to fight the virus. She was sentenced to three years in prison in April.

The civilian National Unity Government has reported that some 35,000 healthcare providers nationwide are taking part in the CDM. 

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing said late last year that there were 10,000 doctors currently working in the public health sector. 

An officer who is not participating in the CDM told Myanmar Now that the military’s health ministry in Naypyitaw transferred some 200 army doctors and nurses into public hospitals in February and March. 

The junta spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. 

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