JUNE 1, 2004
Posted: June 4, 2004
Minn Kyaw, Burma Media Link
Kyaw, a Burmese journalist and pro-democracy activist living in Malaysia,
was detained and harassed by people who claimed to be security officials,
according to international news reports.
Kyaw, the editor of the Burmese-language news magazine Burma Media
Link, was driving to the airport in Kuala Lumpur to cover the arrival
of Burmese Prime Minister Khin Nyunt when two unmarked vehicles forced
his car off the road. His wife, Yussra Shahril, was also in the car. According
to an account that Kyaw and Shahril gave to local journalists, three men
who identified themselves as security agents, approached the car, handcuffed
Kyaw, and dragged him from the car, placing a black hood over his head.
The men drove Kyaw to an unknown location, where they put him in a large,
windowless container and removed his hood. A woman accompanied by four
men questioned him there. Her questions focused on Burma Media Link
and Kyaw's pro-democracy activism. She asked Kyaw why he wrote only negative
things about Burma. The men assaulted Kyaw several times during the interrogation,
and one accused Kyaw of being a spy.
The group threatened Kyaw, warning him not to tell anyone about his detention,
and released him several hours later, after Khin Nyunt had left the country.
Burma Media Link's audience includes Burmese communities in Malaysia
and other countries in Southeast Asia. The magazine often publishes commentary
critical of Burmese authorities.
During Kyaw's detention, his wife filed a police report alleging that
the Malaysian Special Branch, which acts as the country's internal security
agency, was involved in her husband's abduction. Superintendent Jamshah
Mustapa, a police spokesman, denied any police knowledge or involvement
and said the police are investigating the incident, according to news
After his release, Kyaw filed a police complaint and submitted a report
to Malaysia's official Human Rights Commission requesting an investigation
and protection by Malaysian authorities.