Myanmar: pro-democracy monk beaten, arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- May 28, 2021
- Event Description
Venerable Yazina’s robes did not protect him when the army trucks appeared. Despite his status as a member of Myanmar’s revered Buddhist monkhood, he was fair game for the soldiers who opened fire the moment they arrived on the scene.
The teaching monk from Mandalay’s New Masoeyin Monastery was among those who were hit that day. But it wasn’t a bullet that took him down—it was one of the vehicles that had sped into the crowd as protesters scattered in an effort to escape.
“We had just left the monastery when they arrived and started shooting,” he recalled. “Everyone was running in a panic. I tried to hop onto a motorcycle to get away, but that was when they struck me with a car.”
Knocked to the ground, Ven. Yazina was helpless as three soldiers began beating his shaved head again and again.
Now in the junta’s custody, the monk was forcibly disrobed and dragged off to the notorious interrogation centre at Mandalay Palace to be tortured as just another layperson who had dared to challenge the military’s hold on power.
By May 28, the day of his arrest, Ven. Yazina had been protesting against the coup for more than three months. Hundreds had already been killed in crackdowns around the country, and thousands more arrested. Many of those who found themselves behind bars did not come out alive.
He did not expect mercy. He knew that even monks were routinely subjected to unimaginable cruelty at the hands of regime forces.
For the next six days, from 9am to 3pm, two interrogators took turns inflicting as much suffering as they could, not caring if they killed him in the process. He and the other detainees captured at the same time were beaten almost constantly as they were questioned about their participation in the protests.
When the junta’s henchmen tired of hitting the prisoners with truncheons, they would force them to assume painful and humiliating positions in a further effort to break their spirits.
“First they made me squat down. Then they told me to put my hands on my head and hop around like a frog. After that, I had to kneel down on the hot pavement with my hands still on my head,” he said.
“The pain was unbearable. They made me ‘walk’ like this back to my cell. It took about 30 minutes, and if I slowed down, they would hit me again from behind.”
But at some point, he became defiant, telling his tormentors that they could beat him all they liked, because he could no longer move on his shattered knees.
“That’s when I told them that I wanted a humane government. At this, the officer just pointed his gun at me and said, ‘How dare you?’”
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to Protest
- Pro-democracy defender
- Armed forces/ Military
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 28 May 2021, Ven. Yazina, pro-democracy monk, was beaten and arrested by the military as he joined pro-democracy demonstrations in Mandalay, Myanmar.