Journalists U Hla Han and U Tha Win, both employees of the state-owned Burmese newspaper Kyemon
(The Mirror), were allegedly tortured to death by military intelligence
agents, according to an October 7 report carried by the Oslo-based
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB).
DVB said that 27 employees of the newspaper were taken in for
interrogation shortly after the newspaper’s September 25 edition
carried a picture of military intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt
under the headline “World’s Greatest Crook.” U Hla Han died on
September 27, and U Tha Win died on October 2, according to the report.
In a statement sent to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the ruling junta denied taking any action against Kyemon
staff. “We did not believe it was deliberate malice…no one was
detained or charged,” said the statement, which blamed the headline on
an apparently inadvertent printing error.
The junta’s statement confirmed that newspaper employee U Tha Win
had died, but “said he had been an alcoholic and passed away in
hospital on September 30, after slipping into a coma days before the
paper’s blunder,” reported AFP. The statement said that U Hla Han had
retired from Kyemon 10 years ago.
In 2001, sources in Rangoon told CPJ that U Hla Han and U Tha Win were indeed punished for the Kyemon headline and had died in official custody.