A man who was arrested in October on charges of financially supporting the anti-regime People’s Defence Force (PDF) died in prison last week, according to a source close to his family.
Relatives of 43-year-old Myo Naing, a resident of Pakokku in Magway Region, were notified of his death last Monday, just weeks after they learned of his whereabouts, the source said.
He had been transferred to Pakokku Prison less than two weeks earlier and was said to be facing three charges under Myanmar’s Anti-Terrorism Law at the time of his death.
“They said he felt a sharp pain on the left side of his chest and collapsed. He was sent to the out-patient department and was going in and out of consciousness on his way to the hospital. He died 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital,” said the source.
The victim’s family was later notified by the Prison Department that he had died due to pre-existing health conditions, according to the family friend, who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity.
“They said he had pre-existing health conditions, but I’ve never heard anything about him having any health problems or being admitted to a hospital,” he said.
On Tuesday, the day of Myo Naing’s funeral, the Prison Department issued another notice stating that there were no external injuries on his body.
“The notice also said that he had been charged with possession of weapons. There were three charges against him, but that’s all his family knows,” the source added.
Members of the victim’s immediate family were not available for comment.
On Thursday, the anti-regime Pakokku People’s Revolution Committee of released a statement saying that the military must take full responsibility for Myo Naing’s death.
According to a member of the committee, Myo Naing was arrested by armed and plainclothes junta personnel at a tea shop in mid-October, but his family did not learn that he was in prison and in poor health until December.
“We spent three weeks trying to get information about him at the local police stations, but didn’t get any answers, so we just assumed that he was being held at the interrogation centre,” the committee member said.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the military has killed a total of 1,398 people since seizing power on February 1 of last year, including many who have died during interrogation.