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Burma poet dies in detention, body returned to family with organs missing: reports

A poet whose works opposed the junta that’s ruling Burma has died in detention and his body was returned to his family with its organs removed, his family said, according to reports Sunday. 

The wife of poet Khet Thi told the BBC that her husband never returned after they were taken in for interrogation Saturday in the central town of Shwebo, according to Reuters.

“I was interrogated. So was he. They said he was at the interrogation center. But he didn’t come back, only his body,” his wife, Chaw Su said. 

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Anti-coup protesters hold the flag of the National League for Democracy party of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while others flash the three-fingered salute during a "flash mob" rally in Bahan township in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (AP Photo)

Anti-coup protesters hold the flag of the National League for Democracy party of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while others flash the three-fingered salute during a “flash mob” rally in Bahan township in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (AP Photo)

“They called me in the morning and told me to meet him at the hospital in Monywa. I thought it was just for a broken arm or something … But when I arrived here, he was at the morgue and his internal organs were taken out,” she continued.

Reuters reported that Chaw Su did not elaborate on how she knew that her husband’s organs had been removed.

Khet Thi was at least the third poet to die during protests since the military’s Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The poet had reportedly written: “They shoot in the head, but they don’t know the revolution is in the heart.”

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an activist group, said at least 780 civilians have been killed since the coup began.

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“He died at the hospital after being tortured in the interrogation center,” the group said. Chaw Su added that she was told her husband had a heart problem.

Khet Thi was an engineer before quitting his job in 2012 to focus on his poetry, according to Reuters. He also supported himself by making and selling ice cream and cakes. 

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“I don’t want to be a hero, I don’t want to be a martyr, I don’t want to be a weakling, I don’t want to be a fool,” he wrote just weeks after the coup. “I don’t want to support injustice. If I have only a minute to live, I want my conscience to be clean for that minute.”

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