Villager tortured by police refuses hush money; files lawsuit against police

June 7, 2018

HURFOM: On May 21st 2018, Police Sergeant Thein Hline Oo and Police Private Shine Htet Aung, from Yin Nyein Police Station, tortured two villagers from Kyauk Ye Twin village, Paung Township, Mon State. On May 23rd the Chief of the Police Station and the Village Administrator came to the victims asking them to accept compensation and cover up the case, according to U Maung Gyi, one of the torture victims.

On May 23rd, the Chief of the Police Station, the Village Administrator, and a Surveillance Officer came to the hospital where I had been admitted and talked to me about money [compensation]. They asked me to forget what had happened, and told me they would give me what I want [medical fees and compensation for missed work]. I replied that I didn’t want anything but justice. I didn’t want the money. I’m the victim. I knew how much I was beaten. But they kept talking about money [compensation]. I didn’t accept it,” said U Maung Gyi.

On May 21st three villagers from Kyauk Ye Twin Village – Phoe Tuu, U Maung Gyi and U Khin Win – went to a hill to pick wild mangosteens. As they started for home, they saw two policemen and a villager coming up the hill on motorbikes. Phoe Tuu ran away upon seeing the police, but U Maung Gyi and U Khin Win just continued what they were doing. After they finished picking the wild mangosteens, they walked back to the village and talked with their friend U Aung Gyi at Daw Cho’s house.

On seeing two policemen come into the house, U Kin Win and U Aung Gyi left to avoid them. But U Maung Gyi stayed where he was.

One of my legs was hurt, and I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I stayed sitting down. They came into the house and ordered me to give them my chopping knife. As I earn my livelihood with the knife, I told them I couldn’t give it to them. They yelled at me, ‘What are you?’ and ‘Why won’t you give us what we ask for?’ After that they beat me with a stick, and punched and kicked me. I shouted out, ‘I did nothing wrong. Please don’t beat me.’ But they beat me like an animal. I fell and rolled over on the ground as they kept on beating me,” said U Maung Gyi.

Similarly, Phoe Tuu was beaten by the same two police officials at his elder sister Ma Su’s house on May 21st.

Phoe Tuu’s elder sister Ma Su asked the Village Administrator to call the police to give her brother a lesson. This wasn’t the first time but the third time as far as I know. The case is complicated as Phoe Tuu accompanied U Maung Gyi to collect wild mangosteens this time,” said a local source.

 

Phoe Tuu’s elder sister and her husband reported to me three or four times that Phoe Tuu was drunk and behaving violently. I couldn’t control him so I contacted the police to control him. But that day I wasn’t in the village as I was travelling to Paung (Town). I didn’t know what they had done. Later, I found out that U Maung Gyi had been tortured and admitted to the hospital. They didn’t file a report about Phoe Tuu’s case as his own elder sister had asked the police to control him,” said U Win Kyine, the Administrator of Kyauk Ye Twin village.

U Win Kyine said he had tried to negotiate with U Maung Gyi to settle the problem without filing a lawsuit, however, U Maung Gyi rejected this attempt.

Moreover, on May 22nd and 23rd, the Chief of the Yin Nyine Police Station and Police Sergeant Thein Hline Oo came to U Sein Aung, the chairman of Kyauk Ye Twin National League for Democracy (NLD), who has been helping U Maung Gyi. The police asked U Sein Aung to persuade U Maung Gyi not to file a lawsuit against them.

The Surveillance Police (Police Sergeant Thein Hline Oo) has admitted his wrongdoing and the Police Chief also promised that this would be the first and the last time. He wanted me to negotiate with the victim. They kept on asking me, for two or three days, to get him to take the compensation. They came to my home and said everything depended on me,” said U Sein Aung.

On May 24th, U Maung Gyi filed a lawsuit at Paung Police Station against Police Sergeant Thein Hline Oo and Police Private Shine Htet Aung for torturing him.

U Maung Gyi is a day laborer and one of his leg was injured after falling off his bicycle two months ago. At the moment, he has been admitted to the Yin Nyine General Hospital. He reportedly has had hardship due to no longer being able to do any work.

 

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