Khet Thi: Monywa poet killed during military interrogation

May 10th, 2021  •  Author:   Poet Khet Thi (Monywa)  •  3 minute read
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Poet Khet Thi giving speech at an anti-dictatorship protest (Facebook)

By Myanmar Now 

Monywa-based poet Khet Thi died within 24 hours of being arrested by the military council’s armed forces in Shwebo, Sagaing Region this weekend, his family members confirmed.

The 44-year-old, whose real name was Zaw Tun, and his wife Chaw Su were arrested from their home in Shwebo at around 9pm on Saturday.

Although Chaw Su was detained at the Shwebo police station, Khet Thi was taken to an undisclosed location and died during his interrogation by the military.

Family members said they were notified of his death on Sunday morning.

“When they beat him up during the interrogation, he probably didn’t say anything. They killed him,” Khet Thi’s younger brother told Myanmar now, adding that he had been told that the poet died en route to the hospital.

Khet Thi’s body had bruising on the chest, along the ribs, and on his wrists.

Chaw Su was not told of her husband’s death, only ordered to go to the Monywa hospital after she was released on Sunday afternoon from the police station.

“When they told me to go to Monywa hospital, I thought he could still be treated,” she said. “When I asked them, ‘Can we still treat him? Because I would like to,’  they said, ‘He brought this upon himself. It’s his own doing.’ And that’s when I knew they had killed him. They killed my husband! He was fine when they took him. He doesn’t have any underlying health conditions.”

Khet Thi worked as a junior engineer with the municipal committees in Kalay, Shwebo and Monywa from 2004 until 2012.

After leaving his job, he began making a living selling cake and ice cream. Since the February 1 coup, Khet Thi was an active participant on the frontlines of anti-dictatorship protests in Palal, Sagaing.

Khet Thi’s poems were widely renowned among protesters. One of his most well known lines was, “They shoot us in the head, but they don’t know the revolution dwells in our hearts.”

The police force did not disclose any information regarding Khet Thi’s arrest or his cause of death. His family has brought his body to Palal.

“They’re inhumane. We hoped it would just be a lot of charges thrown at him and imprisonment. This is too evil. The military is full of animals,” another family member said.

Khet Thi is the third poet to be killed by the military council’s troops since the coup.

On March 3, the junta’s armed forces dragged poet Kay Za Win along the road after being shot during a crackdown on a march in Monywa. He was killed shortly after.

Some 774 civilians have been killed and 3,778 detained since the coup as of May 7, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Original post: Myanmar Now