No More Safety: Political Prisoners’ Lives in Danger

August 18, 2023

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.

As of present, political prisoners’ situation is precarious and their chances of survival in imprisonment are faint.

Although the prison and jailers are responsible for the shelter, wellbeing, and security of all prisoners during detainment, political prisoners are suffering from poor food, inadequate living conditions, and are in despair from the lack of security.

In recent months, prisoners are frequently being taken outside of Prison compounds and interrogated without anyone’s knowledge. They are being inhumanely tortured, beaten within an inch of their life, and intentionally killed.

In such instances, we are seeing that prison transfers are more frequent, and there is no accountability for the security of the prisoners during these transfers.

We, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, have released statements in regard to the military junta using prison transfers to inflict serious torture and murder in recent months.

On August 15, 2023, over 100 political prisoners from Monywa Prison were again, forcibly transferred to Mandalay and Myingyan Prisons in five military vehicles.

The vehicle convoy transferring the prisoners was attacked by an explosive mine near “Ta Dar Phyu” bridge near Myay Ne Village at the exit of Monywa. The attack resulted in the death of a political prisoner identified as Dr. Zaw Htwe Aung, a CDM health worker. Another political prisoner, named Arkar Nyein Chan, who already had one leg amputated, was shackled to Dr. Zaw Htwe Aung at the time of the attack, and was critically injured.

Five other political prisoners were also injured in the attack, but it is unknown which party was responsible. Although, the attack occurred in a region with ongoing conflicts with both sides using landmines.

On March 3, 2023, while transferring around 150 prisoners from Monywa Prison to Myingyan Prison, the vehicle convoy was attacked by a landmine at the front of Chindwin Bridge near Ma Au Village in Yesagyo Township, Magway Region. Seven female prisoners were injured, two of which were in critical condition. Myint Myint Khaing and Win Win Nwe were in critical condition and then transported to Mandalay Hospital for further treatment.

In July 2023, 37 political prisoners in Daik-U (Kyaiksakaw) Prison were removed from the prison walls and killed. Only eight of those political prisoners were confirmed by the military junta as killed, who said they were killed whilst attempting to flee during a prison transfer. However, there made no report on how many prisoners had died.

There was also a heavy media blackout, and family members who went to inquire about their imprisoned relatives were denied any information. Moreover, prison visits are currently prohibited, in order to sever contact between the prisoners and their family members outside the prison.

There is clear evidence that the military junta is regularly perpetrating physical and psychological torture and killing political prisoners, while also making their families suffer.

Regardless, the prison junta authorities are fully responsible for the security of prisoners during their imprisonment, whilst the military junta is responsible for the imprisonment of all political prisoners. Neither have made any open statement addressing the event, nor taken any responsibility for it.

AAPP Secretary U Tate Naing said, “In addition to arbitrarily imprisoning anyone who opposed them, the military junta has been blatantly taking political prisoners out of prison to torture them, transfer them to another prison, kill them, or otherwise put their lives in danger with no accountability. These actions not only make a ridicule of international laws, but also humiliate the international justice system.”

AAPP Joint-Secretary U Bo Kyi additional stressed that, “ASEAN has been having talks with the military junta in regard to the situation in Burma, citing the necessity of having an interaction with all sides. However, the military junta is refusing to follow the five-point consensus plan laid out by ASEAN, and has rather been perpetrating terrorist acts on the civilian population, with increasing frequency day after day.

ASEAN must deal with the military junta in concrete deadlines. If the military junta does not make any positive cooperation within the specified deadline, ASEAN should take action. Such action may involve refusing junta participation in any ASEAN meeting, applying more political pressure on the junta, and obtaining the unconditional release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”

AAPP strongly urges the international community to respond and prohibit the lawless criminal acts being committed by the junta, to put pressure, and take action in all manners as soon as possible.

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)

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Download link for English_Statement on Current Situation of Political Prisoners (18-Aug-2023)