Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - Page 9 News List

As Myanmar transforms, little talk of past abuses

Because it is the leaders of the former junta who are leading the country’s transition to democracy, and because the opposition wants to ensure they continue to, there are few cries for retribution

By Thomas Fuller  /  NY Times News Service, YANGON, Myanmar

Khin Nyunt said he wanted to give space to “little-known” artists.

“I have no regrets,” he said, referring to his years in power. “I had no intention of doing harm to others. I believe that I did no violence, I did no injustice.”

These words, relayed to Aung Tun, the former political prisoner, were met with disbelief.

Aung Tun said he was beaten and deprived of food and sleep for days at a time after being detained by military intelligence officers who worked for Khin Nyunt’s spy agency. Among his alleged crimes: writing a book on the student protest movement. He said agents read the book’s acknowledgments and arrested those Aung Tun had thanked for help with his research.

As for the former spy chief’s new career as patron of the arts, Aung Tun’s reaction dripped with bitter sarcasm.

“I’m glad to hear he is at peace, but you cannot hide from history,” Aung Tun said. “The truth will find its place.”

Additional reporting by Wai Moe

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