National League for Democracy supporter dies during interrogation in Mandalay Palace

By RFA Burmese

UPDATED at 9:10 a.m. EDT on April 5, 2023.

The husband of a member of the ousted National League for Democracy has died during interrogation in Myanmar’s infamous Mandalay Palace, according to neighbors.

Troops showed up at the Pyigyidagun township home of 40-year-old Win Kyaw in two unmarked cars on Monday night, according to a local who didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals. He said the troops questioned Win Kyaw about his wife, who is in hiding, then shot and arrested him.

“He is not a party member. His wife is the NLD chair of the village tract. She is fleeing,” the neighbor said.

“Troops asked for her phone number. He was shot and arrested when he did not give the number. [He received] two gunshots to his thigh and one to the shoulder. His head was hit with rifle butts and he was bundled into a car. The next day junta troops asked [relatives] to take his body.”

Neighbors say Win Kyaw was taken to the military base at Mandalay Palace for interrogation and relatives were ordered to pick up his body from Mandalay Public Hospital morgue.

When his body was brought home it had bruises and wounds on the head and back, neighbors told RFA.

The NLD led Myanmar's civilian government until the military staged a coup in February 2021. Last week, the junta dissolved the NLD, a move widely seen as undermining the credibility of elections the military regime plans for later this year.

Along with questions about the whereabouts of his wife, Win Kyaw was also questioned over the killing of Soe Min Han, the administrator of Pyigyidagun township’s Neighborhood-G, who was shot on Monday morning. Locals said Win Kyaw had nothing to do with the killing and a local militia, Aung Si Taw Mandalay, has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Calls by RFA Burmese to the military junta spokesman for Mandalay, Thein Htay, went unanswered Wednesday.

Mandalay Palace, a royal residence and seat of government until 1885, is now a notorious military base and detention center.

Civil disobedience movement policeman Sgt. Kyaw Kyaw, who reached an area free of junta control on the Thai-Myanmar border last month, told RFA he personally saw people being tortured there by junta troops.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, as of April 4, the junta has arrested more than 21,000 people since the coup, including pro-democracy campaigners. More than 17,300 are still in detention.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.

This story has been updated to add background about the National League for Democracy.