Police brutality case under investigation

by Phanida
Thursday, 15 October 2009 20:34

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The North Okkalapa Police station is investigating the death of Kyawt Maung, allegedly beaten to death by police earlier this month.

Police Station House Officer, Divisional Health Department Office Superintendent and No. 2 Ward Peace and Development Council (PDC) Chairman have, according to a family member, thus far questioned nine witnesses in the case, including the wife of the deceased.

Police private Pan Thee and former Ward PDC Chairman Win Cho are accused of beating Kyawt Maung (56), the Chairman of the self-reliance committee of No.2 ward, at Thumarlar Road junction on the 8th of October with his hands handcuffed. He subsequently died of a blood clot in the brain, prompting his family to register the case as a murder under section 302(a) of the Penal Code.

While the former Ward PDC Chairman has been arrested in connection with the investigation, the policeman remains at large.

An alms offering ceremony dedicated to the deceased was held this morning at his house, during with township policemen took photographs of the proceedings.

It is but the latest tragic run-in in with authorities for the family. Kyawt Maung’s son, Thet Oo Maung, took part in a Free Aung San Suu Kyi campaign and continues to be held in Insein prison despite the completion of his sentence today.

Thet Oo Maung was arrested on the 7th of this month, ostensibly for taking part in a brawl with 9th grade students from a high school in North Okkalapa Township.

Two exiled ethnic political organizations have expressed their opposition against the Burmese military junta’s planned 2010 election

by Mungpi
Thursday, 15 October 2009 21:37

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Two exiled ethnic political organizations have expressed their opposition against the Burmese military junta’s planned 2010 election, saying it is aimed to rubber stamp the junta’s rule and does not guarantee the rights of ethnics.

Hkanhpa Sadan, Joint Secretary of the Kachin National Organisation (KNO) told Mizzima that his organization is not encouraging ethnic groups and others to support the junta’s 2010 elections as it will not provide any opportunity for change.

“It is a wrong conception to believe that this election can present even a slight opening of opportunity for change,” Hkanhpa Sadan elaborated.

Similarly, the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), in an official statement on Monday, rejected the junta’s 2010 election, saying the new government elected out of the 2010 election would not act in the interests of the people, instead serving to unquestioningly carry out the junta’s will.

“The rights of the ethnic people for self-determination and protection of our customs and culture will be further endangered by this so-called Parliament,” the KNPP said.

The London-based KNO also urged the ethnic Kachin’s main group, Kachin Independence Organisations (KIO), to uphold its oath to secure the Kachin peoples’ rights, equality and self-determination.

The KIO, along with its armed wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), in 1962 took a historic oath at a meeting in Bhamo in northern Burma, bordering China, committing to fight until Kachins gain their inherent rights.

Hkanhpa Sadan said as the KIA took the oath, “We urged them to remain committed and stop meeting the junta’s representatives under the banner of negotiations for the transformation of the KIA into Border Guard Force.” Continue reading “Two exiled ethnic political organizations have expressed their opposition against the Burmese military junta’s planned 2010 election”

Burma’s ploy to escape sanctions

Last week Burmese leader Than Shwe allowed detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet Western diplomats, at her request, to talk about the sanctions imposed on the military regime.

The Nobel Prize winner, who remains under house arrest, was driven to a government guesthouse on Oct. 9 to meet acting U.S. Charge d’Affaires Thomas Vajda, British Ambassador Andrew Heyn, who represented the European Union, and Australian Deputy Head of Mission Simon Christopher Starr for an hour to discuss the possible lifting of sanctions on Burma.

It was no surprise that the junta agreed to Suu Kyi’s request, as the sanctions are hurting the regime, said a Burmese journalist on condition of anonymity. Senior General Than Shwe would like to improve relations with Western countries, both to improve the country’s economic condition and increase his legitimacy, he said.

“However, people do not believe the affair is an honest move,” he said, pointing out that the junta’s supreme commander wanted to get the international community to support his so-called “discipline-flourishing democracy.”

The surprise meeting with diplomats followed two consultation sessions this month between Suu Kyi and the junta’s liaison and Labor Minister Aung Kyi, to discuss her Sept. 25 proposal to help end sanctions against the regime.

On the same day, Oct. 9, Than Shwe spoke at military headquarters in the capital, Naypyitaw, confirming the launch of general elections as scheduled in 2010. He said he would not yield to demands from domestic and international critics who say that the country’s military-sponsored Constitution should be revised ahead of next year’s elections.

The 2008 Constitution, the junta said, was “approved” by more than 90 percent of eligible voters during a referendum in May 2008, just a few days after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country. The outcome of the referendum was widely dismissed as a sham, but the regime has ignored calls from the international community and Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, to review the Constitution. Continue reading “Burma’s ploy to escape sanctions”

Arms and explosives seized in Sittwe

Sittwe, Arakan State: Some arms and explosives have been seized by authorities in Sittwe (Akyab), the capital of Arakan State, in the first week of October, said a source close to the authorities.

A group was coming to Sittwe from Rangoon through Taunggup pass in a white micro. When the car reached Taunggup check point, the authorities checked the car and found some explosives, but, the officials pretended not to be find anything in the car. However, intelligence personnel followed the car until it reached Sittwe.

When the car entered a Buddhist monastery of expansion (Toochey Wra) village near Sittwe airport, the officials seized the car and detained the passengers. After that, intelligence personnel accompanied by other concerned authorities searched the car and found 41 arms and seven hand grenades, an aide close to intelligence department said.

After a few moments, another car entered at the same venue. The second car was also seized with the passengers by the authorities. But, it is not confirmed, how many people were arrested.

However, it is learnt that over 100 people were arrested from Rangoon and Sittwe regarding the incident.

When the authorities asked the arrestees why they carried arms and explosives from Rangoon to Sittwe, they said, “We carried these to kill the Bengali Kular (Arakanese Rohingya people) as they are very active against the Rakhine community.”

When asked Salim Ullah, the CEC member of Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) he said, “It is an obsequious word to the authorities to make them happy, but in reality, they carried it for other purposes.”

Hearing this from the arrestees, the authorities smiled and took all of them to their camp for more interrogation. Security is being tightened in Sittwe (Akyab) since seizing the arms and explosives in the Buddhist monastery, said a trader from Akyab on condition of anonymity.
Kaladan press

Detainee’s Mother Hospitalized After Rumor of Son’s Death

Sittwe: The mother of a detainee has been hospitalized at the general hospital in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, after hearing a rumor that her son had died in the interrogation cell, said a relative.

“The detainee’s mother Daw Khin Mar Oo has been hospitalized in Sittwe because of a heart attack after hearing a rumor that her son died in the military interrogation cell,” he said.

Daw Khin Mar Oo is the mother of Naing Soe, who was arrested by special police forces in Sittwe on accusations of terrorist activities.

“She was hospitalized on 9 October after her health deteriorated,” he added.

On 12 September, a team from the special police branch raided Daw Khin Mar Oo’s house on Sakyarmuni Road in Danyawaddy Ward of Sittwe and arrested her son Naing Soe.

During the raid, military officials claimed to have found some detonators in Naing Soe’s possession and accused him of preparing to plant bombs in Sittwe. He was also accused of having connections with the exiled Arakanese student group, All Arakan Students and Youths Congress based in Thailand, and had coordinated planned terrorist activities with them.

Shortly after his arrest, the police brought Naing Soe to an unknown location for interrogation, and his family has not seen him since.

“In the last few days there has been a rumor in Sittwe that Naing Soe was killed by military intelligence during the interrogation. So family members, especially Naing Soe’s mother, are suffering greatly from the alleged news. Now she has been hospitalized,” the relative said.

However, there has been no official statement regarding Naing Soe’s current state of health.

According to sources from Sittwe another Arakanese youth, Aung Naing Chay from Strand Road in Mizan Ward, has been missing since his arrest by authorities in the second week of September.

Burmese military authorities have arrested at least 20 Arakanese youth and students in several places in Burma on accusations of terrorist activity. Despite more than a month passing since most of the arrests, the authorities have yet to produce anyone before a court with charges.

Forty four Burmese nationals held in Bangladesh

rohingya285 Dhaka: Forty four Burmese nationals were rounded up by Bangladesh police in raids over two days from a few places in Bandarban hill district, said an official report.

On the first day of the raids on October 13, police arrested 23 Rohingya Muslims from Burma, the report said.

Among them, 18 people, including two children and four women were arrested from Penbazaar area in Alikadam township of Bangladesh, opposite Buthidaung Township in Burma

Five more Burmese citizens were arrested from Balagata in Bandarban on the same day.

On October 14, a Bangladeshi police team in another raid in Raicha and Kaistali areas arrested 21 more Rohingyas, including two women.

They entered Bangladesh territory to live illegally in these localities, police sources added.

The police handed them over to BDR personnel for pushing them back through the Naikhangchhari border close to the Burmese town of Taungbro.

A report from Bangladesh authorities said over 1200 Muslims from Burma were pushed back from Bangladesh during the past six months.

Burmese migrant workers harassed by gangs in Southern Thailand

Thu 15 Oct 2009, Tala Lawi
Incidents of Thai gangs harassing and robbing Burmese migrant workers in Southern Thailand are on the rise, claim several migrant workers interviewed by IMNA.

A Mon migrant worker, employed at a rural rubber plantation in Hat Yai district in Trang Province in Southern Thailand, reported to IMNA that on October 11, he and his wife were robbed of by a gang of three Thai teenagers. The gang stole 440 baht and a cell phone.

Nai Myint Aung, aged 30, informed IMNA that he and eight of his friends are already paying 50 baht per month to a different Thai gang, and have been doing so for the past eight months. Nai Myint Aung told IMNA that if he or his friends fail to pay the monthly extortion fee, the gang follows them back to their homes and harasses their families.

Nai Myint Aung reported to IMNA that on the afternoon of October 11th at 2pm he left his boss’s home, where he had received his paycheck of 7000 baht, and entered the local market. The gang of Thai teenagers followed him from the marketplace to his neighborhood. Nai Myint Aung claimed that the gang stopped his motorbike and seized his wife who accompanied him, threatening the pair with a knife. The gang then searched his wife’s body and stole 440 baht and her cellular phone. Continue reading “Burmese migrant workers harassed by gangs in Southern Thailand”

DEVELOPMENT: UNESCAP Steps in to Help Burma’s Debt-ridden Farmers

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Oct 15 (IPS) – A regional United Nations body dubbed by its critics as a “talk shop” and with limited concrete achievements to its name appears set to change that image by striking a deal with one of Asia’s recalcitrant regimes – the Burmese military government.

On the table is an invitation for the Bangkok-based Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to help the Burmese junta improve its troubled agriculture economy. The 62-year-old U.N. body has identified assisting Burma’s debt-ridden rice farmers as one of its development challenges.

“We have been asked to look at the agriculture policies, address issues of rice pricing and rural credit,” Noeleen Heyzer, the head of ESCAP, said in an interview. “We have been asked to share how other countries in the region have dealt with these problems and offer models of good practice.”

The seeds of this partnership between ESCAP and the Southeast Asian country that is also called Myanmar were sown during a six-day visit that Heyzer made in August. “This is the first time that the Myanmar government has invited ESCAP to be engaged at this level,” said Heyzer, who was appointed two years ago to head the largest of the U.N. regional commissions. “I have been building trust with the government in order to help the rural communities.”

Just how open the secretive and oppressive Burmese junta is to such U.N. assistance was reflected during Heyzer’s travels through central Burma, where she stopped and engaged with farmers by the side of paddy fields green with crops for the monsoon harvest. “I discovered that many of them were in debt because of the low level of rural credit and the high cost of fertiliser,” said the first female executive secretary of ESCAP. “They are highly dependent on money lenders.”

Heyzer feels confident that the initial round of talks she had with Burma’s Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Htay Oo, indicated a willingness to listen and even consider a shift in prevailing rural credit policies. “One issue I discussed with the minister was how farmers could get greater access to rural credit,” she said. “He and the other officials were open and willing to listen to new ideas.” Continue reading “DEVELOPMENT: UNESCAP Steps in to Help Burma’s Debt-ridden Farmers”