Student protester maimed in attack by soldiers left out of prisoner release

July 1st, 2021  •  Author:   Hlyan Phyo Aung (Magway)  •  3 minute read
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Hlyan Phyo Aung 

By Myanmar Now

Hlyan Phyo Aung remains behind bars even though he needs surgery and other treatment for his injuries

A jailed student protester from Magway who had his hand amputated after a brutal attack by soldiers in late March applied for bail on Thursday, his family has said.

Hlyan Phyo Aung, a 22-year-old civil engineering student who faces an incitement charge, was expecting to be freed along with more than 2,000 others on Wednesday.

Instead he had his first court hearing on Thursday after it was postponed eight times. His family said they hoped the request would be granted on medical grounds because of his serious injuries.

“I just want to ask them to be reasonable and stop this madness,” said a relative.

The student was hospitalised after a soldier shot and destroyed his right hand at a rally in Magway on March 27. After the hand was amputated he was sent to Magway Prison, even though doctors said he urgently needed eye surgery.

“It doesn’t matter if one is educated or wealthy or not, a person is a person and should be treated as such,” the relative said. “Would they treat him the same way if he was their blood?”

Hlyan Phyo Aung and his mother seen at the Magway military hospital (Supplied) 

Thirty-six detainees who were still under police investigation and facing court hearings for protesting were released from Magway Prison on Wednesday.

Two of them were Hlyan Phyo Aung’s cellmates, who were detained at the same protest as him and facing the same charge under the same lawsuit, the relative said.

The cellmates had been helping Hlyan Phyo Aung, who has limited mobility, with his daily routine.

“Now he’s alone in his cell,” the relative said. “He had already packed his stuff thinking he would be released along with his cellmates. We just met with his friends who were released in front of the prison today.”

In addition to losing his right hand, Hlyan Phyo Aung was hit in his right eye with a blast of gunpowder. Both of his thighs and his left arm were perforated by rubber bullets.

Hlyan Phyo Aung seen at an anti-coup protest before he was attacked by soldiers 

After receiving two months of treatment at a military hospital, doctors said he would still need physical therapy as well as surgery for his eye.

The relative said they feared the attention Hlyan Phyo Aung’s case has received was the reason the regime has not yet released him.

The underground National Unity Government has publicised his treatment as part of plans to submit evidence against the regime to the International Criminal Court.

“Every single word of support for him turns into poison for the military since this information has seeped to the international community, making it a ‘famous’ case,” the relative said.

“That’s probably why they’re not releasing him yet.”

Original Post: Myanmar Now