Police have returned the body of a protester to his family in Muse, northern Shan State on March 5 after the man was detained for five days and died in police custody.
Thein Lwin, age 43, was arrested by police on February 28 while he was demonstrating against the military in Muse. He then died in detention, with his family saying that he appeared to have been severely beaten.
“Police returned his body to us yesterday. His body was full of wounds,” one of Thein Lwin’s family members told SHAN on Saturday.
On the day Thein Lwin was arrested, four people who appeared to be plainclothes police officers began shooting at the protesters near the Mang Weing gate. They then arrested three protesters and accused them of being armed. Thein Lwin was one of those three.
“Four people came to protest site by car. Then they fired at the protest site. After that, they arrested three people under the accusation that they had weapons,” Thein Lwin’s family member told SHAN. “Family members went to the police station and requested they be released. The police rejected their request. The police returned the dead body [of Thein Lwin] to the family yesterday.”
Two people were still believed to be in police custody at the time of reporting, and are expected to face a trial.
Muse resident Sai Leng, who has no relation to those who are detained, said he saw the arrest and murder of Thein Lwin as a threat by security forces to the public.
“They are trying to threaten people and warn them not to protest against the military in the future. They killed a person. I feel so upset for him,” he said.
The military coup has been in power since February 1. Hundreds of thousands of people have protested against the regime through demonstrations and a nationwide general strike known as the Civil Disobedience Movement. Security forces have responded by using tear gas, rubber bullets, and shooting live ammunition into crowds of protesters across the country.
More than 50 people had been killed by police and military at protests in Burma at the time of reporting. Most were shot, many in the head.