Khin Nyunt

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Khin Nyunt
Khinnyunt.png
Khin Nyunt.jpg
9th Prime Minister of Burma (Myanmar)
In office
25 August 2003 – 18 October 2004
Leader Than Shwe
Preceded by Than Shwe
Succeeded by Soe Win
Secretary 1 of the State Peace and Development Council
In office
1997 – 25 August 2003
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Thein Sein
Personal details
Born (1939-10-11) 11 October 1939 (age 74)
Kyauktan Township, British Burma
Nationality Burmese
Spouse(s) Khin Win Shwe
Children Thin Le Le Win, Lt.-Col. Zaw Naing Oo, Dr. Ye Naing Win
Military service
Service/branch Myanmar Army
Years of service 1960–2004
Rank General

General Khin Nyunt (Burmese: ခင်ညွန့်; MLCTS: hkang nywan.; pronounced: [kʰɪ̀ɴ ɲʊ̰ɴ]; born 11 October 1939) is an officer and politician in Burma (also known as Myanmar). Khin Nyunt is of Burmese Chinese descent.[1] He held the office of Chief of Intelligence and was Prime Minister from 25 August 2003 until 18 October 2004. He spent the next seven years under house arrest, having been convicted of corruption.

Education[edit]

Khin Nyunt graduated from the 25th batch of the Officer’s Training School in 1960, after dropping out of Yankin College in the late 1950s.[2]

Political involvement[edit]

After his career in the military, he was ordered back to Rangoon in 1984 after an attack on a visiting South Korean delegation which was visiting Burma at that time. 21 people, including three South Korean cabinet ministers, died during the attack, (Rangoon bombing) which occurred on 9 October 1983 and was perpetrated by terrorists sent from North Korea.[3] Khin Nyunt was then appointed Chief of Intelligence. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s Khin Nyunt was considered to be a protégé of the late Ne Win, who supposedly retired from politics in July 1988 but who is thought to have continued to be an influential figure behind the scenes until about the late 1990s.

The 1988 uprising that occurred from March to September 1988 was quelled by the military when the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) was formed on 18 September 1988. The SLORC was renamed as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997, and Khin Nyunt was appointed as its first secretary (Secretary −1), a post which he held until his appointment as Prime Minister in August 2003.

Shortly after Khin Nyunt was appointed as Prime Minister, he announced a seven-point roadmap to democracy; this roadmap was heavily criticized by the Burmese opposition as well as by many foreign governments especially Western ones as it envisaged a permanent military participation in the government. The so-called 'systematic and step-by-step implementation of the road-map to democracy' also contained no time-line.

The first 'step' of the road map was the recalling of the suspended National Convention (NC) which first met in January 1993. The NC was supposed to 'lay down' the basic principles for a new Constitution. The NC met sporadically until the approval of a new constitution in 2008 by what many observers considered the rigged Burmese constitutional referendum, 2008.

Prime Minister[edit]

After his appointment as Prime Minister, Khin Nyunt's role in the government gave rise to some hope and speculation that there might be some 'liberalization', as he was considered a moderate pragmatic who saw the need of a dialogue with the democratic opposition. The SPDC Chairman Than Shwe and his deputy, General Maung Aye were seen as hardliners who opposed any relaxation of the military's iron grip of the country.

On 18 October 2004, in a one-sentence announcement signed by SPDC Chairman Senior General Than Shwe, Khin Nyunt was "permitted to retire on health grounds". However, he was immediately arrested and placed under protective custody.[4]

Controversy[edit]

From 1988 until his purge in 2004, he oversaw the arrest of around 10,000 people. Many were subjected to torture and farcical trials that resulted in decades-long prison sentences. Dozens of his military intelligence units harassed, intimidated and detained opposition activists. His military intelligence units infiltrated almost every organization in the country and maintained networks of spies in almost every neighborhood. Their agents were placed in customs, immigration and police departments, and officers military intelligence even monitored other senior military officials, including top generals.

He was instrumental in shutting down the universities, reopening them only after they had been relocated to remote, ill-equipped campuses where students could no longer organize protests, or get a meaningful education.[5]

Arrest and release[edit]

Allegations of Khin Nyunt's corruption were officially made several days later. Khin Nyunt's dismissal and arrest were the result of a power struggle in which the junta's strongman, Than Shwe, successfully managed to clip the power of the "intelligence faction" of the Burmese Armed Forces which Khin Nyunt led. Most of the Generals and military officers in the SPDC, like Than Shwe, did not and do not want to negotiate with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD).

On 5 July 2005, Khin Nyunt was tried by a Special Tribunal inside Insein prison near Rangoon on various corruption charges. On 21 July 2005, he was sentenced to 44 years in prison, though it is believed that he is ostensibly serving his sentence under house arrest instead of in prison. Khin Nyunt's sons were also sentenced to 51 and 68 years respectively. It is unclear whether his wife was also indicted.[6]

In July 2009, a video of Khin Nyunt at the home of former Burmese minister Brigadier-General Tint Swe, taken on 7 July 2009, was leaked to the public and there have been reports that Khin Nyunt and his wife have been able to travel outside their home on occasion, since March 2008.[7] In December 2010, another 16-minute video of Khin Nyunt meeting with the Chief of Police Khin Yi and other senior police officers was circulated on YouTube.[8]

His brother-in-law, Than Nyein, is one of the founders and chairman of National Democratic Force. Tin Htut, his son in law, has been in prison since October 2004. Khin Nyunt - now referred to by the Burmese media simply as "U" (Mr) - was released from house arrest on 12 January 2012 by the order of current president Thein Sein.[9]

Later life (2012–present)[edit]

After release from house arrest, he lives in a large villa with eight family members, including his wife, children and grandchildren. He opened a coffee shop, a gallery and a souvenir store in his villa that sells tourist items like pricey petrified wood carvings.[10]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Khin Win Shwe, a medical doctor, and has a daughter, Thin Le Le Win, and two sons, Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Naing Oo and Dr. Ye Naing Win, who owns Bagan Cybertech, one of the few internet service providers available in Myanmar.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kuppuswamy, C.S. (11 September 2004). "Myanmar: The shake- up and the fall out.". South Asia Analysis Group. Archived from the original on 15 December 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2006. 
  2. ^ "Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt". Mizzima News. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Min Lwin (30 June 2009). "Burmese Internet Users Share Video, Documents about North Korea". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Burma's prime minister 'arrested'". BBC News. 19 October 2004. 
  5. ^ Name * (1992-04-23). "Criminals at Large | The Irrawaddy Magazine". Irrawaddy.org. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  6. ^ "Burma ex-PM guilty of corruption". BBC News. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2006. 
  7. ^ "Khin Nyunt Appears in Public". The Irrawaddy. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Yeni (4 December 2010). "Khin Nyunt Video Resurfaces with Sound Restored". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "From Feared Myanmar Spymaster to Art Gallery Owner | The Irrawaddy Magazine". Irrawaddy.org. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  11. ^ "Junta Blocks Google and Gmail". The Irrawaddy. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 30 June 2006. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Than Shwe
Prime Minister of Myanmar
2003–2004
Succeeded by
Soe Win