The photojournalist, who was known for documenting anti-junta protests, died in custody hours after his arrest at his home. Aye Kyaw, the owner of the Sagaing city Harman Photography studio and a member of the Upper Myanmar Photography Association, was arrested in the early morning of July 30.
Speaking with Radio Free Asia, Aye Kyaw’s relatives said members of the military arrived at his home in a convoy of six vehicles, under the premise that weapons were allegedly stored on the property. The photographer was detained despite no weapons being found.
Approximately ten hours later, the administrator of the Aung Chanthar ward contacted Aye Kyaw’s family to inform them that he had died, with his body being held in Sagaing City Hospital’s mortuary. According to reports, the body was left outside of the hospital to be collected by a local charity burial organisation, the Ohbo Health and Social Assistance Association.
The cause of Aye Kyaw’s death remains unclear and an official from the burial organisation said, “we didn't see any superficial wounds on the body but I noticed his chest was sewn up like a postmortem. I didn't see any injuries or leaking body fluids.”
One Sagaing resident close to the deceased reported deep bruising on the photographer’s body, while another resident said the lack of external injuries indicated Aye Kyaw had died due to extreme torture.
Aye Kyaw had been active in documenting protests and anti-junta activities in Myanmar, with his work often shared on social media by politicians and local media.