Guards beat dozens of female political prisoners in Myanmar

Several are in critical condition, a human rights group said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.06.18
Guards beat dozens of female political prisoners in Myanmar Detainees released from Daik-U Prison during an amnesty from the junta, taken in April 2024.
State Administration Council Press

Myanmar prison authorities beat about 80 female political prisoners, critically injuring five of them, after prison authorities sparked a protest when they confiscated the women’s belongings, a human rights group told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday. 

Many people have been imprisoned in Myanmar for their political beliefs and activity since a 2021 coup ended a decade of tentative democratic  reforms and triggered widespread opposition to military rule.

Junta authorities have been accused of torture, extrajudicial killings and other abuses in Myanmar’s cramped and crumbling prisons.

Tension in the Bago region’s Daik-U Prison began when guards seized food and personal belongings of about 40 political prisoners on Saturday, according to the Political Prisoner Network Myanmar.

The women demanded their items back. As the disturbance grew, prison authorities punched and beat women prisoners and fired shots into the air, said a member of the rights group’s steering committee, Thaik Tun Oo. 

“The five who were seriously injured are being treated at the prison’s clinic,” he told RFA, adding that they had suffered severe blows to the head. 

Thirty of the victims were locked in cells following the riot, he said. 

RFA contacted both the junta’s Prison Department and the Myanmar office of the International Committee of the Red Cross for more information on the situation but telephone calls and emails to both went unanswered.

About 160 political prisoners, including many of the victims, had recently been transferred from Kyaikmaraw Prison in Mon state, as well as Bago’s Thayarwady Prison, known for its poor conditions and crumbling infrastructure, Thaik Tun Oo said. 

Two prominent members of the political activist organizations 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, Nu Nu Aung and Khat Khat Lwin, are being held at Daik-U Prison, said sources close to Nu Nu Aung, who added that she had been injured in the disturbance. 

According to the rights group the Assistance Association for the Political Prisoners, as of Monday, more than 9,000 of the 26,877 people arrested since the coup had been sentenced to prison terms.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Taejun Kang. 

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