7-year-old son of Myanmar health official still behind bars as calls for release intensify

Htar Htar Lin and her 7-year-old son Aung Thukhamein Lin. Photo: Dr Htar Htar Lin/Facebook
Htar Htar Lin and her 7-year-old son Aung Thukhamein Lin. Photo: Dr Htar Htar Lin/Facebook

A 7-year-old boy, the son of the former leader of Myanmar’s COVID-19 immunization program, continues to languish behind bars after he and his parents were nabbed as political prisoners by the military junta.

Aung Thukhamein Lin, his mother Htar Htar Lin, who was the national immunization director at the Ministry of Health and Sports under the National League for Democracy, or NLD, government, and his father Nyi Nyi Aung were not among the 2,200 political prisoners released on June 30, which included 5-year-old Su Thet Wyne from Mogok — the country’s youngest inmate prior to her release.

Thukhamein Lin and his parents were detained by junta troops at their house in Yangon on June 10. According to junta-controlled media, Htar Htar Lin was accused of being the founder of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) that challenged the junta’s rule and aided the National Unity Government (NUG).

A friend of the doctor, Aye Aye Nyein and her daughter, were also arrested.

The NUG was formed by the lawmakers from the NLD, which was overthrown by the junta on Feb. 1. The junta classifies NUG as a terrorist organization.

Calls for Thukhamein Lin’s release have been intensifying the longer he remains behind bars.

“The child is exceptionally clever,” a close friend to Htar Htar Lin told reporters yesterday. 

“His pet dog has been imprisoned with him. It’s been 21 days, so this is unacceptable. I hope for the boy’s immediate release.” 

“Detaining the innocent kid indicates that the military dictatorship is committing a bigger crime,” stated another acquaintance of Htar Htar Lin. 

“Please speak up for the boy’s quick release … He’s been in detention for three weeks.

“How many of the rights of this child have been violated? We can’t comprehend the boy’s anguish.”

Su Thet Wyne, 5, and her father Soe Htay. Photo: Soe Htay/Facebook
Su Thet Wyne, 5, and her father Soe Htay. Photo: Soe Htay/Facebook

Su Thet Wyne was released from prison in Mogok last Wednesday. Her detention has left her terrified, according to her father, Soe Htay, who posted details about her time in prison on his Facebook account on Thursday.

“She told me she didn’t get enough meals in detention and had to bathe in toilet water,” he wrote in the post.

With her mother and sister, the 5-year-old child was held for more than two weeks after soldiers raided their house in search of her father, who is a leader of the local anti-coup protest against the junta. Su Thet Wyne is now safe with her father while her mother and sister remain in jail.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma),  892 people, including 44 children, have been killed since the Feb. 1 coup, while 6,513 have been detained.

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