Wife rejects terrorism accusations against veteran Myanmar democracy activist

Ko Jimmy was shown in a junta media photo with a pile of guns and ammunition.
2021.11.08
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Wife rejects terrorism accusations against veteran Myanmar democracy activist A file photo of detained Myanmar activist Kyaw Min Yu, better known by his alias Ko Jimmy.
Photo: RFA

The wife of veteran Myanmar political activist Ko Kimmy, who was detained last month, on Monday rejected the military junta’s accusation that he was plotting acts of terror after taking part in a spate of violent attacks in Yangon.  

Kyaw Min Yu, better known by his alias Ko Jimmy, had been a staunch opponent of the Feb. 1 coup that deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her democratically elected government.

He was arrested by the junta on Oct. 24, and his wife, Nila Thein, told RFA at the time that he was in critical condition after enduring torture at the hands of security forces.

Ko Kimmy was accused by the junta on Sunday of plotting terror acts and working with the shadow National Unity Government.

The military said in a statement he was arrested with weapons in the Panglong Housing Estate in the Yangon region.

Military-owned TV and newspapers showed Ko Jimmy kneeling behind six AK-47 assault rifles, 8 M-16 pistols, two 12-volt pistols, a local handgun, 18 rounds of ammunition and a machete, all said to be seized from him.

He was charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Unlawful Association Law and the Illegal Weapons law—a combination of charges that carry a maximum sentence of 30-45 years in prison.

The junta’s statement said Jimmy had taken part in attacks in three townships of Yangon and was arrested before carrying out attacks in five other townships in the metropolis, home to 7 million of Myanmar’s 54 million people.

“Now that he was seized along with weapons, we will continue to take action against him in accordance with the Anti-terrorism Law, the Illegal Weapons law and the Explosives Law,” said junta spokesman Maj Gen. Zaw Min Tun.

“We were able to make the arrest because of collaboration with the security forces by responsible people.”

Ko Jimmy’s wife Nila Thein said the military did not have a code of conduct for treating detainees and that the public was well aware of the torture and forced admissions of all who were in their hands.

“Not all statements by the military are true, as everyone knows. Our people have all experienced their evil, wicked and deceptive ways over the years,” Nila Thein told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

She also expressed grave concern for her husband, noting that many opponents of the coup had died during interrogations following their arrests.

Prior to his recent arrest, Ko Jimmy was imprisoned from 1988 to 2005 for his political activities and again from 2007 to 2012, spending 21 years in prison.

Ko Jimmy was a leader of the so-called 88-generation, a group of students who led the August 1988 uprising against the previous military regime that had run Myanmar, then known as Burma, since 1962, running the economy into the ground and creating a pariah state.

Their protests led to reforms that eventually ushered in a brief period of democratic rule from 2016 that ended with this year’s coup.

Kyaw Htwe, a member of the National League for Democracy Central Committee, the leadership of the ousted ruling party, said forcing Ko Jimmy to kneel in front of weapons was an insult to human dignity.

"Jimmy is a very strong man with strong beliefs. Even though he has been arrested, there will be many more Jimmies. There will be a lot of people like Jimmy who will continue to fight for the next generation of revolutionaries.”

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Paul Eckert. 

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