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NEWS - Myanmar Opposition Questions
- Subject: NEWS - Myanmar Opposition Questions
- From: Rangoonp@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 13:36:00
Subject: NEWS - Myanmar Opposition Questions Custody Death Report
Myanmar Opposition Questions Custody Death Report
BANGKOK, June 21 (Reuters) - Myanmar's main opposition
party has questioned a report by the ruling military that
alcoholism drove one of its members to commit suicide in
custody, and has demanded a full public inquiry.
Earlier this month, the Yangon government said Hla Khin,
43, a member of the National League for Democracy,
hanged himself with his sarong in his cell at Yangon's
Prison on May 31.
It said he had been undergoing treatment for alcoholism
which brought on neurological disorders that led to the
An NLD letter to the government dated June 8 and
on the Internet at the weekend questioned this version of
"The authorities, in announcing his death, alleged he
indulged in alcohol which resulted in brain damage and
suicide. This is questionable," the NLD said.
"He had been imprisoned for nine months. How was it
possible for him to access liquor? If he had had that
affliction, did the authorities take any remedial steps?
It is not
impossible for this disease to be cured."
The party said shocked members of Hla Khin's family had
been unable to provide explanations to NLD members who
"It is very likely that they had been threatened and
intimidated by some person or organisation," the NLD
said. "No response was obtained to questions about
the family was given permission to view the corpse or to
The NLD letter said Hla Khin was detained in August when
he went to observe a protest against travel restrictions
NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and was charged with
anti-state activity. It called his conviction an
abuse of power.
"The entire responsibility for U Hla Khin's death lies
Insein prison authorities," the letter said. "The League
demands that a full public inquiry be held into the death
the circumstances surrounding the death."
The government spokesman did not respond to a request for
a comment on the NLD letter.
The death followed an inaugural visit to the notorious
jail by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The
government has said Hla Khin was "sleeping" during that
The NLD has said the government moved large numbers of
political prisoners out of the jail before the ICRC
government said the party should prove this.
The United States and European Union have imposed
sanctions on Myanmar because of its treatment of the NLD,
which won a 1990 general election by a landslide but was
not allowed to govern.
The NLD has said more than 100 of its members elected as
members of parliament in the poll are being detained by
government along with about 500 ordinary members. Since
the election there have been several deaths in custody.
The military late last year stepped up suppression of the
NLD after it demanded that a People's Parliament of
MPs be convened.