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'I thought I would die.' Myanmar protesters describe torture they suffered in detention

   April 29, 2021 8:22 AM
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by By Helen Regan, Sandi Sidhu and Clarissa Ward and Salai TZ, CNN

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One of the women, 31-year-old dance teacher Khin Nyein Thu, was barely recognizable, her mother said. Her face was swollen and bloody.
 
MYANMAR - The 19-year-old's eyes are so swollen he cannot open them properly. His face is marked with big purple welts and bruises. Etched into his shoulders and back are long, dark lacerations that have yet to heal over -- wounds, he said, that were inflicted when Myanmar military officers who had detained him whipped him repeatedly with cable wires.

"I thought I would die," the teenager, who did not want to be named for safety reasons, said of his three-day stint in a military detention camp, while showing a photo of his wounds.

He is one of more than 4,400 people detained by Myanmar's security forces since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, according to advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The round-up, part of a systematic and bloody crackdown on any perceived opposition to the takeover, has ensnared politicians, protesters, journalists, striking workers, celebrities, and even children and bystanders . Many people have been taken in terrifying nighttime raids or abducted off the streets and held in secretive facilities out of contact from their families. Little is known about the conditions they are kept in.

The 19-year-old said he was repeatedly beaten while held in military detention.

But the accounts of those who have been released, as well as from defectors from the military and family members, detail brutal acts of violence and torture...

The teen was traveling back to Yangon from Bago on his moped when he said he was stopped at a military checkpoint on April 9. It was a long drive, and it was already getting late. That day had seen one of the deadliest crackdowns on protesters, with more than 80 killed by security forces in the town, according to AAPP.

Searching his bag and phone, soldiers found images of him with a shield at protests.

The 19-year-old said he was taken to a military compound, where his hands were tied and he was repeatedly beaten by the guards, who used cables, the butts of guns, and glass bottles...

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