Thursday, 21 November 2019

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Burmese army officers deny arrest of missing Kachin woman

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two Burmese army officers have testified in the Burmese Supreme Court that soldiers in their units did not arrest and detain a Kachin woman who has been missing for more than four months.

The proceedings were brought by Zawng Hkawng of Momauk Township, the husband of Sumlut Roi Ja, after he said his wife was arrested and taken away in October 2011 by troops from Light Infantry Unit No. 321.

Captain Kyaw Kyaw Htay of Light Infantry Unit 321 and Major Zay Yar Aung of Infantry No. 37 appeared at the hearing as the representatives of the two battalions.

“They testified that they knew about Roi Ja’s case only after it has been reported,” said Zawng Hkawng’s lawyer, Markhar.

“They said no complaint was launched with them in the past. The Northern Command set up a tribunal to examine the charge. They said that in the Northern Command, there was no incident like Roi Ja’s case.”
Lawyer Markhar told Mizzima, “We testified that…in fact, they really arrested her,” and asked the court to order her release or establish her whereabouts.
Markhar said that on October 28, 2011, Sumlut Roi Ja was on her way to work on a farm with her husband and her father when government soldiers from Light Infantry Unit No. 321 arrested them, alleging that they worked in intelligence for the Kachin Independence Army. Sumlut Roi Ja’s husband and father escaped on the day of their arrest.

 In January 2011, a lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court in Naypyitaw and the first hearing was conducted on February 9.  
In a related lawsuit involving the unlawful arrest of two Kachin men, Brang Seng and Zau Seng of Tarlawgyi village by Infantry Unit No. 37, was also heard by the Supreme Court. The government testified that the men were arrested because of security violations, Markhar said. The two men have been were charged under the Unlawful Associations Act, he said.

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