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Myanmar photographer who shot anti-junta protests dies in custody — Radio Free Asia


A photographer identified 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 residence in a convoy of six army autos at 2 a.m. on July 30, citing a “tip” that there have been weapons stashed there, his kinfolk advised 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 advised they “might retrieve it in order for you it, or depart it there.”

An official from the Ohbo Well being and Social Help Affiliation, a charity burial service in Sagaing, advised RFA that his group had taken Aye Kyaw’s physique from the hospital to a non secular corridor in Aung Chanthar ward to organize 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 observed 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 buddy of Aye Kyaw’s household, who additionally declined to be named, advised RFA that troopers had searched the photographer’s residence for weapons throughout his arrest however discovered nothing.

“The military got here in six vehicles 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 the whole 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 produce 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 quite a lot of associates. Once they heard his information, they have been all shocked.”

Aye Kyaw was a member of the Upper Myanmar Photography Association. Credit: Hay Marn
Aye Kyaw was a member of the Higher Myanmar Images Affiliation. Credit score: Hay Marn

Documenting a coup

Aye Kyaw, who was a member of the Higher Myanmar Images Affiliation, was identified for documenting protests and different anti-junta actions within the aftermath of the army’s Feb. 1, 2021 coup. He would put up his pictures to social media, the place it was commonly shared by politicians and the native media.

Members of Aye Kyaw’s pictures 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 for the reason that coup, in keeping with RFA’s rely.

A resident of Sagaing, who didn’t wish to be named for safety causes, stated individuals within the metropolis are “residing in concern” due to incidents comparable to Aye Kyaw’s loss of life in custody.

“I labored with Aye Kyaw through 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 “resulting from excessive torture.”

“What occurs right here in Sagaing is that we see arbitrary arrests and killings when a army column comes and finds one thing they don‘t like,” he stated.

“There isn’t any legislation. The legislation 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 each time the military columns strategy.”

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.

In response to Bangkok-based NGO Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners, junta forces have killed not less than 2,142 civilians for the reason that coup and arrested almost 15,000, principally throughout peaceable anti-junta protests.

Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.




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