Former Mon Political Prisoner Recounts Arrest by Intelligence Services

Former Mon Political Prisoner Recounts Arrest by Intelligence Services

By Azan
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nai Yehka, a prominent political prisoner and hero of the ethnic Mon was honored by several different townships in Mon State who held ceremonies in various locations across Mon State, in recognition of his stance in challenging the military dictatorship in Burma.

Nai Yehka, who was supposed to die in prison from a life sentence handed down by the Burmese military, but today became a free man after he was given an amnesty by Burma’s President Thein Sein on April 30.

Nai Yehka was honored by several different townships in Mon State
(Photo:Pamoik Chan-Facebook)

Three townships have already held ceremonies for him. One more ceremony was held in Ye Township today according to Nai Yehka.

Many in Mon State and abroad were happy to have their hero back after believing that he would end his life in prison. Some people also worried that the torture suffered in prison would effect him upon his release.

Nai Yehka was accused of a bombing in Rangoon by the Burmese military regime and got arrested in July, 2003. He was sentenced to death and later had his sentenced reduced to life in prison. He told his full account today about how his arrest was planned by the former military intelligence chief, General Khin Nyunt.

“I traveled to Rangoon in the course of my rubber trading business at that time. Before that, I met a man in Moulmein and we talked about the rubber trade business.

But, I was not aware that the man was from the military intelligence, who was actually planning to arrest me” he said.

He said that he got arrested at the first floor of a building in Rangoon where he had made an appointment to meet the man from Moulmein to talk about trading.

“About 30 of them (the military intelligence and police) pointed guns and arrested me and my friend. They took us to a room and brought a box in front of us, inside which were bombs. I found there were big bombs inside the box and they took photos of them.

This is how they accused us of plotting the bombing in Rangoon, he said.

Five people were arrested with him at the building. Furthermore, he said that he heard later that two other people, Min Kyi and Zaw Htet Htaw, were arrested, who were accused of being linked to his case. Nai Yehka said however, that he did not even know the two people.

Nai Yehka was previously a tutor at a university in Moulmein and became a Mon rebel after the 1988 students uprising in Burma. He subsequently joined the New Mon State Party (NMSP).

He was well known as a man who had the courage to challenge the dictatorship, and worked in the underground network and had broad network among Mon youth. He gained much popularity among civilians at community level and also abroad before he was arrested, a popularity which threatened the military dictatorship.

Local  people called him ‘A Yit’ in Mon, a nickname referring to his ability to hide his network very quickly and his talent for moving to different locations quickly while the military intelligence attempted to arrest him.

 “I got arrested because our political activity became advanced,” said Nai Yehka.

He is now 53 years old and has spent 8 years and 9 months in Insein Prison in Rangoon, which was located far from his family.

In relation to his arrest, Nai Yehka said he viewed it only as a political game.

“They (the military intelligence) did not have many things to ask me during interrogation. They just kept asking me about the NMSP, not about plotting the bombs.

 They sentenced me to death because they wanted to kill my mind. They would win the game if I lost my mind in prison,” he said.

After he got arrested, almost all the underground network of the NMSP collapsed inside Mon State, as he was formerly a main organizer of the NMSP network.

His team members also recognized him as a good leader. He has 3 children and his wife is a civil servant school teacher for the Burmese government. He said that he will visit the headquarters of the NMSP on May 20.

 He will take a role or position that the leaders of the NMSP to give to him. He was a committee member from Moulmein district before he got arrested.

His current view is that there is a political change in Burma, but there is not full trust in the reform process at this stage.

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