Conditions in Burma do not Come Close to Free, Fair and Credible Elections with more than 2,200 Political Prisoners Still Behind Bars (2010)
Date: November 3, 2010
More than 2,200 political prisoners will spend this week’s election in prison; denied not only their freedom, but also their right to vote and their right to participate in the wider political process.
For more than 45 political prisoners this will be their second election behind bars, having spent the last election, 20 years ago, in prison, an AAPP report, released today, reveals.
“Sadly, 30 of these political prisoners have not seen freedom in over 20 years having been imprisoned since before 1990,” said Joint Secretary of AAPP Bo Kyi.
The report, Silencing Dissent: the ongoing imprisonment of Burma’s political activists in the lead up to the 2010 elections, documents the ongoing intimidation, imprisonment and torture of
political activists, as well as ordinary civilians peacefully expressing their basic civil and political rights, throughout the pre-‐election period.
Not only was there an increase in the number of political prisoners in 2010 but the abuse of political prisoners through torture and dire prison conditions continued unabated.
“Violence, intimidation and arbitrary arrest have no place in free, fair and credible elections. Rather than bettering the lives of Burma’s 50 million people, the 7 November elections are
increasing the threats that people face, on a daily basis, from the regime.”
The report reveals that in the past year there has been no improvement in the overall political prisoner situation. People are arrested and tortured for simply voicing their opinion about the elections and for educating others about the electoral process. In September, 11 students were arrested for distributing leaflets informing people of their right not to vote.
“How can we speak of free and fair elections when the regime tortures and arrests young people for educating their fellow citizens on their democratic rights,” Bo Kyi asserted.
“On Sunday, the people of Burma will not be able to vote freely for the leaders of their choice because the leaders of their choice remain behind bars. The military regime is trying to tell the international community that they are changing. If they were genuinely interested in change they would have already released Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Khun Htun Oo, and Min Ko Naing,
allowing them to freely contest the elections” Bo Kyi said.
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
For more information –
Tate Naing (Secretary): +66 (0) 812 878 751
Bo Kyi (Joint Secretary); +66 (0) 819 628 713