The family of Maung Gyi Hla, a deceased man thought to be a victim of torture, say they are disappointed with an explanation for his death provided to them by the Arakan Army (AA).
AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha had responded to a question posed at a press conference on Tuesday by saying: “[Maung Gyi Hla] did not die from torture. We have the medical records for his hospitalization. Dark brown marks on the eyes and body are more likely to occur when a diabetes victim dies.”
Khaing Thukha further claimed that Maung Gyi Hla was a member of the AA / ULA-led regional administration, the Arakan Administration Authority (AAA), and had died whilst under investigation for murder as authorities were unaware he suffered from underlying health conditions.
The two officials present during Maung Gyi Hla’s death are currently under questioning and will be given appropriate sentences when investigations conclude, he added.
The victim was a resident of Myoma ward, Mrauk-U township and was abducted on March 22. He died at the hospital on March 30, according to his family.
“My father died after he was tortured for seven days. He did not have diabetes, hepatitis, or kidney disease. Everyone can see the bruises [on my father’s body],” Maung Gyi Hla’s daughter, who denied her father was an AAA member, said.
Khaing Thukha said the AA talked with the victim’s family — as well as other authorities, including monks — about the death until the family was satisfied, a claim countered by the victim’s daughter who said the EAO had failed to provide any information on her father’s death.
In a press statement made on April 5, the AA/ULA — which is rapidly moving forward with the development of an autonomous administration and judiciary in Rakhine State — mentioned that it would not tolerate corruption and abuses of power within its territory, and that it was to pay special attention to such matters.