Two-year-old daughter of female PDF suspect dies in Thandwe prison

The two-year-old daughter of a female detainee accused of supporting the People’s Defence Force (PDF) died in prison in southern Rakhine State’s Thandwe Township on Thursday, according to sources. 

The child, Shwe Yoon Eain, had been sent to the prison to stay with her mother after undergoing surgery to correct a birth defect, a woman close to the girl’s family told Myanmar Now.

“I don’t know the details, but they said she died in prison. I was told that she would be buried in the village,” said the woman.

Shwe Yoon Eain’s family collected her body from the prison on Friday morning, the woman added. She was two years and four months old at the time of her death. 

The mother, 35-year-old Nyein Ei Phyo Kyaw, was one of three female suspects arrested last November for allegedly providing financial support for the PDF. All three, including a 17-year-old girl, were charged under Myanmar’s Counterterrorism Law.

A volunteer aid worker in Thandwe said she learned about the child’s death from prison staff and a local free funeral association.

“It sounds like she caught a cold. The prison floors are bare concrete, so it’s cold inside the cells. Mucous started building up in her airways, and she just couldn’t breathe,” she said.

According to the volunteer, it was unclear why Shwe Yoon Eain, who wore an ostomy pouch because she had been born with an imperforate anus, was in the prison.

“I don’t know if her mother asked to have the child stay with her, or if she was there for some other reason,” she said.

“Why would you put a sick child in a prison? That should never have happened,” she added.

Myanmar Now was unable to reach the family for more information. 

Kyaw Lwin, the child’s grandfather, told local media outlet Narinjara News that he has not been allowed to contact his daughter, Nyein Ei Phyo Kyaw, since her arrest.

Anti-regime activity has been relatively limited in Rakhine State since last year’s coup, but Thandwe Township is widely regarded as a stronghold of support for the ousted ruling party, the National League for Democracy.

At least eight people have been arrested and charged under the Counterterrorism Law in Rakhine State since last October for allegedly supporting resistance forces.

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