Myanmar junta blames Covid-19 for deaths under custody: relatives

Bangkok, Jul 16 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta blames the Covid-19 pandemic for several deaths of people detained by authorities, family members and people close to the victims told local media.

The Myanmar Now newspaper said multiple bodies of arrested people have been hidden from their families and cremated before being examined under the pretext, according to the military who took power on Feb. 1, that they were infected with the virus.

Myanmar’s Soe San, from the central region of Mandalay, surrendered to authorities who claimed him for his participation in protests against the military coup. A day later his body was handed over to relatives covered in plastic, the standard practice for a patient infected with Covid-19, for a funeral limited to 10 attendants and a prohibition on photography.

“I think (authorities) went too far during the interrogation and he ended up dead,” a neighbor of the town where the victim lived told the media.

The neighbor said the funerary rite was carried out under the surveillance of 30 security forces members.

According to Myanmar Now, Soe San’s case has been repeated several times.

As in the arrest of 19-year-old Mai Nuam Za Thiang, after being shot while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle in the northern Sagaing region.

The young woman bled to death after arriving in hospital, according to the forensic report, but the military returned the body wrapped in plastic saying she had been infected with Covid-19 and forced her relatives to immediately cremate the body.

“I think they wanted to hide something, so they used that label (from Covid-19). We could only see the report and their face, so we were forced to accept what they said,” a relative of the victim told the media.

At least 912 people have lost their lives as a result of the brutal repression carried out by security forces, who have fired to kill peaceful protesters on several occasions, according to data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The Myanmar Army justifies the coup on alleged electoral fraud in November’s elections, in which the party led by the Nobel Peace Prize Aung San Suu Kyi achieved a landslide victory, as it did in 2015, and were considered free and fair by international observers. EFE


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