4 college students imprisoned for protesting the ruling army junta have been held in solitary confinement and overwhelmed almost on daily basis by authorities since being transferred to central Myanmar’s Bago area lower than two weeks in the past, their relations and sources with information of the state of affairs mentioned Thursday.
Min Thu Aung, Banya Oo, Ye Htut Khaung and Zaw Win Htut — all college students at Hpa-an College in Hpa-n, Kayin state — have been arrested in March and charged with defamation of the state, organizing or serving to a gaggle to encourage the overthrow or destruction of the Myanmar army, and having contact with an illegal group, on this case an ethnic armed group preventing nationwide forces. They every have been sentenced to 12 to 13 years in jail.
The 4 college students have been amongst 60 different political prisoners who have been transferred from Hpa-An Jail to Tharrawaddy Jail in Bago area on July 9.
On directions from the warden at Hpa-an Jail, the scholars have been separated from the opposite prisoners once they arrived on the Bago detention heart and positioned in solitary confinement, an individual near one of many households advised RFA.
The 4 have been overwhelmed and locked up in solitary confinement almost on daily basis since July 10, the youths’ relations and people accustomed to the state of affairs mentioned.
“They weren’t handcuffed once they have been first overwhelmed, although their ankles have been shackled,” the particular person advised RFA.
Human rights violations in prisons, such because the beatings the scholars have skilled, have gotten worse because the army overthrew the democratically elected authorities in a February 2020 coup, mentioned a spokesman for the Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Thai NGO.
“We’ve got heard that political prisoners are being tortured deliberately and unjustly as a result of they’re political prisoners, and that they’re being tortured in varied methods,” he advised RFA.
Based on AAPP’s data, junta authorities have arrested 11,743 civilians for civil disobedience actions, of which 1,344 have been sentenced to jail phrases, because the coup came about.
Once they have been overwhelmed whereas sitting with out handcuffs, Banya Oo and Ye Htut Khaung tried to struggle again, however have been struck extra forcefully, mentioned the particular person near one of many households of the detained college students. They have been then handcuffed, dragged away and locked in solitary cells.
“They have been taken out of the cells each morning and have been overwhelmed once more,” the particular person mentioned, including that the guards taunted them, asking if their revolution towards the junta had succeeded and telling them to say “We should win,” whereas persevering with the beatings.
The supply mentioned there have been rumors that representatives of the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross (ICRC) might go to the detention heart to analyze the alleged mistreatment of the scholars.
Jail guards eliminated the scholars from solitary confinement on July 18, although they’re nonetheless affected by accidents from the day by day beatings and haven’t acquired medical therapy, he mentioned.
One other RFA supply, who didn’t need to be named for safety causes, mentioned all 4 males had severe accidents, together with damaged noses and head wounds and that one was overwhelmed till his enamel fell out.
RFA couldn’t attain Prisons Division officers in Yangon or army junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun for remark.
A press release issued by the ICRC in Myanmar on Monday mentioned authorities should deal with prisoners with dignity and humanity and guarantee their well being and security. It additionally mentioned the authorities had suspended ICRC entry to prisons since March 2020 to examine on detainees and supply humanitarian assist.
‘These actions are crimes’
The torture of prisoners is a severe human rights violation as a result of the scholars have already suffered from being sentenced to lengthy jail phrases, mentioned the daddy of one of many college students, who declined to be named for security causes.
“The children have already been given punishments,” he mentioned. “They haven’t damaged any regulation or jail guidelines [since their arrests]. They didn’t even have any sort of prisoners’ rights and all these beatings are very severe violations of human rights.
“We really feel that this type of mistreatment has change into extra severe after the army coup,” he mentioned. “There’s no rule of regulation in any respect. It doesn’t matter what the regulation says, individuals could be arrested and unjustly sentenced by the courts as soon as accusations have been made towards them.”
The scholars’ dad and mom and relations from Hpa-an requested permission to go to Tharrawaddy Jail, however jail authorities rejected their requests.
Tun Kyi, a senior member of the Former Political Prisoners Society, mentioned jail authorities have a coverage of torturing political prisoners.
“They’re committing essentially the most severe violation of human rights with the intention of subduing political prisoners in order that they don’t dare to stand up once more,” he mentioned. “They’ve laid out insurance policies in varied prisons, after which brutally oppressed and tortured the prisoners, typically asking questions like, ‘Are you a revolutionary?’ and ‘Is your revolution making any headway?’ earlier than hitting them.”
Hpa-an and Tharrawaddy prisons, together with Yangon’s Insein Jail, are among the many worst detention facilities of Myanmar’s greater than 40 jails, Tun Kyi mentioned.
A former jail warden, who didn’t need to be named out of concern for his security, mentioned the jail officers who mistreat detainees these days are former army officers.
A authorized professional from Yangon, who didn’t need to be named for a similar motive, mentioned that bodily beating of any detainee, together with political prisoners, is against the law in accordance with the laws governing prisons.
“Should you take a look at it as a lawyer, these actions are literally crimes as a result of the jail guide states that jail wardens may give solely 12 varieties of punishments,” he mentioned. “Nobody else has the best to punish the prisoners. Amongst these 12 varieties of punishments that he may give, he’s not allowed to beat prisoners.”
Those that torture political prisoners shall be held to account sooner or later, mentioned the AAPP spokesman, who declined to be named for security causes.
“Those that personally perform the torture and all those that order it should pay restitution sooner or later,” he mentioned. “This can be a violation of each home and worldwide regulation. Due to this fact, all these concerned within the violations should absolutely pay restitution sooner or later.”
Translated by Khin Maung Nyane for RFA Burmese. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.