‘Rangoon bomber’ paralysed as cancer takes hold

‘Rangoon bomber’ paralysed as cancer takes hold

The Rangoon resident charged with detonating bombs during New Year festivities in April 2010 is now paralysed below the waist as he enters the final stages of liver cancer.

He was diagnosed with liver cancer last month and doctors have said that he has a few months left to live.

Phyo Wai Aung is being treated at hospital in Insein township outside of the notorious Insein Prison.

“He’s now at the hospital and I have to tend to him every day,” said his wife Htay Htay. “He is unable to move his lower body as the cancer cells are in his vertebras – he’s getting chemotherapy treatment but we don’t know for sure if it’ll work or not.”

According to his wife, the medicine required to treat the patient costs about 25,000 Kyat per day, which the family pays out of pocket.

“He is chained to a [hospital bed] with a padlock. His room is also locked up – they don’t want to let anyone in. Only his family are allowed to go in to tend to him,” said his wife.

“He’s currently receiving chemotherapy – for the fifth day – and if his nerves aren’t badly damaged, then he might be able to walk again. Right now, he can’t move – not even a toe.”

Phyo Wai Aung, a 33-year-old engineer, was arrested in the aftermath of the 2010 April bombings in Rangoon and accused of masterminding the plot.

In May this year, he was sentenced to death.

Last month, Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission sent a letter to President Thein Sein calling for his release pointing that he was wrongly accused and is in poor health.

The Burmese government claims Phyo Wai Aung is a member of the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors, which stormed the Burmese embassy in Bangkok in 1999 and took 38 hostages.

Three separate grenade attacks hit the X20 pavilion in Rangoon on 15 April 2010 killing nine people, as revellers celebrated the Thingyan festival.

Initially, nine people were arrested in connection with the bombing; however, everyone except for Phyo Wai Aung have been released through amnesties.

Two of the nine who were imprisoned were video journalists Sithu Zeya and Maung Maung Zeya, who were reporting for DVB in the bombing’s wake. Both of the VJs claim to have been tortured by their interrogators, who were trying to force a confession out the journalists while they were incarcerated.

Phyo Wai Aung’s family members made similar claims that he was forced to confess after being tortured.

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