NLD official, supporter die in custody of Myanmar authorities

Zaw Myo Win and Khin Myo Nwe both died shortly after their arrest in recent weeks.

An official from Myanmar’s deposed National League for Democracy (NLD) and one of the party’s supporters have died in two separate incidents in recent weeks while in the custody of junta authorities, friends and family members told RFA Burmese on Friday.

Zaw Myo Win, NLD party secretary for Uttara Thiri township in the capital Naypyidaw, and Khin Myo Nwe, an NLD party supporter from Yangon region’s Twantay township, both died shortly after their arrest, sources said.

Zaw Myo Win, also known as Ko Gyi, died on Sept. 13 in Mandalay region’s Pyin Oo Lwin township, a party member close to his family told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.

“He had been in hiding for some time. The army said they shot him when he tried to flee on a motorcycle,” the party member said.

“What we know is he was arrested when [police and soldiers] were checking guest lists [at peoples’ homes]. … We heard the tragic news that he died after being arrested there. We haven’t been able to get his body back either.”

The party member told RFA that only Zaw Myo Win’s phone, registration card, and some personal items were returned to the family.

Fellow party members described the party secretary as “a core member of the NLD … [who] carried out the party's work with devotion” and said he was known as “a friend of the people.”

Zaw Myo Win had been hiding in Pyin Oo Lwin township since shortly after the military seized power in a Feb. 1, 2021, coup, they said.

Interrogation death

Similarly, Khin Myo Nwe, a 44-year-old NLD supporter from Yangon’s Zee Phyu Kone village, was arrested in the region’s Twantay township on Aug. 27 and died during interrogation two days later, a resident of the town told RFA.

“She fell unconscious during a brutal interrogation and died soon after arriving at the hospital,” said the resident, who declined to be named, citing fear of reprisal.

“She was one of about 30 people who were arrested on suspicion by police following the killing of six people from the [Zee Phyu Kone village] administrator's office.”

The six were killed when unknown gunmen fired at their car as it returned from the Twantay Township Administration Office on Aug. 22. Khin Myo Nwe was among the residents of Zee Phyu Kone who were later taken into custody by the military for questioning, the resident said.

Khin Myo Nwe “was not an NLD member” but supported the party’s mandate following its landslide victory in Myanmar’s November 2020 election, they added.

As of Friday, the junta had yet to issue any statements regarding the two deaths in custody.

According to Thailand’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, security forces in Myanmar have killed 2,276 civilians and arrested more than 15,500 since last year’s coup, mostly during peaceful anti-junta protests.

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