NLD member detained after receiving photos of military rally killed in junta custody  

A member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party who was detained by the junta after receiving pictures of a pro-military rally died in junta custody in southeastern Myanmar last week, officials have told his family. 

Min Min Thu, 30, was taken by thirteen soldiers who arrived at his home in the village of Maw Tone (East) in Tanintharyi at around 11pm last Monday. Two days later a local administrator contacted his family to tell them he was dead. 

The administrator said Min Min Thu, who was also known as Mohamaad Hani, had been transferred from a Tanintharyi interrogation center to the military hospital in Myeik after he fell sick. When family members went to collect his body, hospital officials refused to let them see it. 

“They said that we weren’t notified so we could get the body back, that they just wanted us to know that he had died,” one of Min Min Thu’s family members said. “They said that an autopsy was being done on his body.” 

“We were soon driven out of the building,” they added. “They directed their staff to close the doors and said that we would be arrested if we didn’t leave. We went back later and they said that his body had already been sent to the military security office in Tanintharyi.” 

When the family went to the security office, they were turned away again. “Because we’re Muslim, we can’t cremate the body. We just wanted the body back so we could give him a proper burial,” the family member said.

On the day he was arrested, Min Min Thu received photos and videos of a pro-military rally in Tanintharyi from a civil servant he was friends with. The civil servant was reportedly detained along with three others for taking pictures of the rally.

It appeared that a member of the military took the detained civil servant’s phone and messaged Min Min Thu, the family member said, “He was talking back to them thinking it was her. They asked him to send the video back to them and shortly after he sent the video back he was arrested.”

During Min Min Thu’s arrest soldiers threw rocks at his house and fired a gun into the sky and shouted that they would start shooting if Min Min Thu didn’t hand himself over. When he didn’t come out, they broke into the house through his bedroom window, the relative said. 

The four other people who were arrested last Monday were released the following day, they added. 

Min Min Thu was charged at the Tanintharyi Police Station with having connections to the People’s Defence Force, with being an accessory to acts of terrorism, and with possessing illegal drugs and weapons, the relative said. 

“He wasn’t facing any lawsuits when he was arrested,” they said. “The house was also ransacked and they found nothing, but they still filed charges against him.” 

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