Political Prisoners Suffer Systematic Human Rights Abuses

In the aftermath of the coup, political prisoners detained by the Military Council in connection with the Spring Revolution are suffering from many forms of human rights violations, according to office correspondence circulating about prisons and findings from civil society organizations monitoring political prisoners.

This month, a political prisoner in Mandalay’s Obo Prison suffered severe beatings by certain prison officials while shackled, resulting in near-fatal injuries, necessitating emergency hospitalization.

Some political prisoners, including women have endured being shackled for nearly two years and faced verbal sexual abuse. Concerns have been raised by their close associates, who have lodged complaints with the National Unity Government (NUG) and other relevant organizations through social networks.

NUG’s Minister of Human Rights, U Aung Myo Min, has concluded that political prisoners face various forms of torture in jails, indicating that these human rights violations are deliberately committed by prison authorities and collaborating officials, and the lack of laws to penalize perpetrators has emboldened them further.

“Military Regimes tend to harbor animosity towards dissenters, and another troubling trend is that officers perpetrating such crimes often go unpunished, making them more emboldened.

The denial of access to organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to investigate conditions within detention facilities allows for the concealment of lawless acts in prisons, fostering a culture of impunity and allowing for unlawful killings”, he said.

He further stated that the NUG plans to compile and document a list of prison officers involved in human rights violations currently, with the aim of seeking justice in the future.

“We will not allow such actions to go unpunished. Immediate steps must be taken to ensure justice in the future, and we have received information about the perpetrators.

We are actively working to secure justice for political prisoners facing hidden torture in prisons”, U Aung Myo Min added.
The Political Prisoners Network – Myanmar (PPNM) also reported the deaths of two political prisoners in Kyaikmaraw Prison, Mon State, on January 12th and 16th, attributing their demise to a lack of adequate medical treatment.

According to PPNM’s statement, the cumulative count of male and female political prisoners who lost their lives in 2023 under similar circumstances of insufficient medical care is reported to be 17.

PPNM has called on ICRC to advocate for political prisoners in detention facilities with human rights violations to access proper medical treatment, facilitate timely transportation of critical patients to external hospitals, and secure permissions for the delivery of foreign medicines into prisons.

“So far, ICRC has been unsuccessful in persuading the Military Council to grant access within the prisons. International pressure has yet to effectively safeguard political prisoners.

It is imperative for the public also to demand the provision of adequate medical treatment for political prisoners, ensuring their return to their families in good condition upon release”, Ko Thaik Tun Oo, a member of PPNM’s steering committee said.

From February 24th, 2021, to January 18th of this year, the Military Council arrested 25,837 individuals for their involvement in resistance activities. Among them 19,936 are currently held in Junta’s custody, and 8,512 have received prison sentences, as documented by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

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