Mandalay NLD member dies in custody a day after his arrest

A National League for Democracy (NLD) member who was arrested in Mandalay’s Aungmyethazan Township on Saturday has died in custody, according to a source close to his family.

Than Tun Oo, who was also known as Min Ko Thein, died within 24 hours of his arrest, the source told Myanmar Now.

“His whole family, including his two children and his mother, who is in her seventies, was at home when they took him away,” the source said.

The soldiers who carried out the raid shouted at his family to remain inside the house as Than Tun Oo was taken outside and forced to kneel in the yard. 

When he had difficulty getting down to the ground due to his weight, the soldiers fired a shot and said they would “help him get on his knees,” the source said.  

“He agreed to go with them and took his medication for hypertension and cramps with him when he left,” she added.

A lieutenant colonel involved in making the arrest accused Than Tun Oo, who was also a well-known community volunteer, of helping to transport weapons for anti-regime forces.

However, a thorough search of his home failed to yield any weapons or incriminating evidence.

A day later, the family was informed that Than Tun Oo had died of a heart attack and that he had been cremated because he had also contracted Covid-19. 

“When his mother, two aunts and sister started crying at the news of his death, they were warned to stop or they would face arrest themselves,” said the family friend.

Another woman who was a close friend of the victim condemned the military’s callous treatment of the family.

“It’s really cruel that they managed to kill a person within 24 hours and then they break the news to his family with a cold heart,” she said.

Apart from being overweight, Than Tun Oo did not have any underlying medical conditions, she added. 

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, since the February 1 coup at least 66 people have died in the regime’s custody within 24 hours of their arrest.

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