“There was no break – it was constant,” he says. “I was thinking only of my mom.”

 The soldiers in rural Myanmar twisted the young man’s skin with pliers and kicked him in the chest until he couldn’t breathe. Then they taunted him about his family until his heart ached, too: “Your mom,” they jeered, “cannot save you anymore.”

The young man and his friend, randomly arrested as they rode their bikes home, were subjected to hours of agony inside a town hall transformed by the military into a torture center. As the interrogators’ blows rained down, their relentless questions tumbled through his mind.

“There was no break – it was constant,” he says. “I was thinking only of my mom.”

Since its takeover of the government in February, the Myanmar military has been torturing detainees across the country in a methodical and systemic way, The Associated Press has found in interviews with 28 people imprisoned and released in recent months. Based also on photographic evidence, sketches and letters, along with testimony from three recently defected military officials, AP’s investigation provides the most comprehensive look since the takeover into a highly secretive detention system that has held more than 9,000 people. The military, known as the Tatmadaw, and police have killed more than 1,200 people since February, the AP reports.

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