Friday, 15 November 2019

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Family worried over detained Burmese-American’s health

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The family of the Burmese-born American citizen, detained in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison, said they are worried about his health as it has been a week since he went on a hunger-strike, protesting the jail authority’s ill-treatment of prisoners.

Khin Khin Swe, aunt of Nyi Nyi Aung (alias) Aung Kyaw Lwin, the American citizen, said her worries increased manifold when on Friday the judge of the Rangoon Southern District court in Insein prison postponed a hearing of the trial against him to December 18, saying the accused could not come to the court due to ill-health.

“Nyi Nyi Aung did not come to the court today. The judge said it was due to ill-health and postponed the hearing to next Friday,” Nyan Win, one of the defence counsels, told Mizzima.

Khin Khin Swe said she along with officials from the US embassy in Rangoon, who had come for the hearing, was refused a request to allow them to meet her nephew by prison authorities.

“When I met him last, he was already on hunger-strike for about three days. He looked pale and weak. So I am worried about his health. I had informed the US embassy of his condition and they said they were negotiating to allow them a meeting with him. They comforted me saying that they will inform me if they meet him,” Khin Khin Swe said.

While it is still unclear what Nyi Nyi Lwin is suffering from, his aunt said he began the hunger-strike a week ago, protesting against prison authorities’ ill-treatment of inmates and inequality among prisoners.

The Burmese-American, who was arrested on September 3 at the Rangoon International airport when he arrived from Bangkok, is currently facing trial on charges of fraud, possessing a fake National Identity card, and foreign currency.

Nyi Nyin Aung was a student activist during the 1988 student-led nationwide pro-democracy uprising, which was brutally crushed by the military, who assumed power in a coup in September 1988.

Following the crackdown on the uprising, Nyi Nyi Aung, along with fellow students fled to Thailand. Later he migrated to United States, where he was naturalised as a citizen.

The state-run media, New Light of Myanmar, reported that he had visited Burma eight times in the past to instigate public unrest. But the charge-sheet filed against him does not include any of the allegations.


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