A photographer recognized for documenting anti-junta protests and different actions has died in custody after being detained by authorities in Myanmar’s embattled Sagaing area over the weekend, members of the family and associates stated Monday.
Aye Kyaw, 48, who runs the Hayman Images studio in Sagaing’s former capital, Sagaing metropolis, was arrested by junta troops who arrived at his dwelling in a convoy of six navy autos at 2 a.m. on July 30, citing a “tip” that there have been weapons stashed there, his kinfolk informed RFA Burmese.
Sources near Aye Kyaw stated that the administrator of Aung Chanthar ward, the place the photographer lived, contacted his household round midday the identical day to tell them that he had died and that his physique was being held within the mortuary of Sagaing Metropolis Hospital. The members of the family have been informed they “might retrieve it if you would like it, or depart it there.”
An official from the Ohbo Well being and Social Help Affiliation, a charity burial service in Sagaing, informed RFA that his group had taken Aye Kyaw’s physique from the hospital to a spiritual corridor in Aung Chanthar ward to arrange it for burial.
“We took the physique, as requested [by the family], from the morgue and despatched it to the village ‘zayat’ (spiritual corridor),” stated the official, talking on situation of anonymity.
“We did not see any superficial wounds on the physique however I seen his chest was sewn up like a postmortem. I did not see any accidents or leaking physique fluids.”
He stated that the household buried Aye Kyaw on Sunday.
One other good friend of Aye Kyaw’s household, who additionally declined to be named, informed RFA that troopers had searched the photographer’s dwelling for weapons throughout his arrest however discovered nothing.
“The military got here in six automobiles and arrested him. Three have been outdoors, three entered the compound,” the supply stated.
“[The troops] stated they’d shoot if the gate was not opened. They searched your entire home however they discovered nothing. Nothing in any respect.”
The supply stated Aye Kyaw’s physique was “left outdoors” by workers on the hospital for the Ohbo Well being and Social Help Affiliation to choose up and convey to his household.
“We didn’t see any accidents on the face however there have been darkish bruises on the ribs and again,” the supply stated.
“He was a jolly, easy-going man and had a number of associates. Once they heard his information, they have been all shocked.”
Documenting a coup
Aye Kyaw, who was a member of the Higher Myanmar Images Affiliation, was recognized for documenting protests and different anti-junta actions within the aftermath of the navy’s Feb. 1, 2021 coup. He would put up his images to social media, the place it was recurrently shared by politicians and the native media.
Members of Aye Kyaw’s images group on Monday expressed unhappiness over his loss of life, which is the newest of 137 which have occurred inside days of detention or throughout interrogation by authorities because the coup, in response to RFA’s rely.
A resident of Sagaing, who didn’t wish to be named for safety causes, stated folks within the metropolis are “residing in worry” due to incidents comparable to Aye Kyaw’s loss of life in custody.
“I labored with Aye Kyaw in the course of the protests in Sagaing and we took pictures collectively. I really feel horrible,” he stated.
The resident stated that Aye Kyaw’s physique confirmed no indicators of exterior accidents, main him to imagine that his fellow photographer died “because of excessive torture.”
“What occurs right here in Sagaing is that we see arbitrary arrests and killings when a navy column comes and finds one thing they don‘t like,” he stated.
“There is no such thing as a regulation. The regulation comes from the barrel of the gun. They do no matter they need. We really feel just like the loss of life penalty has been delivered at any time when the military columns method.”
The resident stated that Aye Kyaw’s case marks the primary time in Sagaing that an individual has died inside hours of being arrested by the junta.
Calls by RFA to junta Deputy Data Minister Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun and the spokesman for Sagaing Area Social Affairs Minister Aye Hlaing went unanswered Monday.
Based on Bangkok-based NGO Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners, junta forces have killed at the least 2,142 civilians because the coup and arrested almost 15,000, largely throughout peaceable anti-junta protests.
Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.