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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1585

Appalling Health Situation of the Burmese Political Prisoners

Bangkok, 15 February, (
Although the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
produced many statements, declaring that they had released
around 20,000 prisoners, from November 2004 to January 2005 in
three different stages, in fact only 86 political prisoners were
included on the lists of those prisoners so far said to be released according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners –Burma (AAPP) – a watch dog Burmese group that monitors information and welfare about the Burmese political prisoners.

Those statements raised the hopes of many
prisoners, who hoped that they would be included on the release
list. Furthermore, the families of prisoners also built up their
hopes that their loved ones would be released. However, in
reality, the regime cunningly lied to people in a similar way to
previous Burmese governments.

AAPP pointed out that improving prison conditions is an objective written on many of the
regime's reports; in reality, however, abuses are still being
committed, such as the beating of political prisoners by prison
authorities, the supply of inadequate food, maltreatment and lack
of medical care, and the re-detaining of political prisoners after
they have completed their sentences.

The worst consequence is that some cases are assumed to be
committed purposefully out of contempt. For example, the elected
Parliament Member Dr. Than Nyein, who was in bad health, was
purposefully transferred to a prison whereby there was not enough
medical support - furthermore, it was on the date that he was
supposed to be examined by a doctor.

Likewise, the elected Parliament Member, U Aung Soe Myint, was transferred from Thayet to Insein prison where he was not provided with medical treatment.

In addition, some mentally ill political prisoners have
not yet been released, but are still not allowed treatment for their
conditions. These facts help support the accusation that the regime
purposefully commits acts of injustice.

Due to the situations mentioned above, the following political
prisoners' health conditions are not only deteriorating, but often
becoming life threatening. For that reason, we release this
information to the International Committee of the Red Cross for
their further investigation, and also to the United Nations,
governments and non-governmental organizations in order that
they know the health situations of Burmese political prisoners and
to support their release.

Appendix: Political Prisoners' Health Conditions as prepared by Assistance Association for Political Prisoners –Burma

(1) Insein Prison

U Aung Soe Myint, the elected Parliament Member from Taungoo
constituency, is now severely suffering from diabetes, heart
disease and eye problems. U Aung Soe Myint was transferred
from Thayet to Insein prison to be examined for his condition, but
he has still not yet been treated adequately.

Dr. May Win Myint, the elected Parliament Member from Mayangon
constituency is now suffering from hypertension, heart disease and
cervical Spondylosis in Insein prison. Furthermore, her prison
term has recently been extended by one year.

U Thet Wai, the chairperson of the National League for Democracy
(Sanchaung Branch), underwent an operation at the end of 2004
for a gastric ulcer and appendicitis. His health situation is still
serious because he does not receive adequate health care and has
to live in halls crowded with criminal prisoners suffering from
various diseases.

Saw Benson,is a political prisoner who has been serving life
sentence since 1984. He is suffering from tuberculosis, and eye
and liver problems. He was transferred from Thayet to Insein
prison in 2003, but he has never received adequate medical
treatment; therefore, his situation at present is critical.

b> Ko Thet Naung Soe, a law student, who was imprisoned for
demonstrating in front of Rangoon City Hall, is now suffering
severely from mental health problems and skin diseases.

(2) Thayet Prison

U Kyi Toe, the chairperson of the National League for Democracy
(Chauk Branch) is now suffering from hypertension and a gastric

U Maung Maung Oo (63), the secretary of the National League for
Democracy (Thayet Brnach), is now suffering from a gastric ulcer
due to prison food, and also suffers from gout in severe weather.

Ko Than Zaw,the organizer of the Youth Wing (NLD-Tanyin
Branch), was wrongfully arrested and sentenced to death in 1989
by the Military Intelligence. He is now suffering from swelling of
the entire body due to the torture he received during his
investigation. He also suffers from eye problems and general bad

(3) Moulmein Prison

Ko Than Lwin was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment under the
Emergency Provisions Act, Section 5 (J) and the Unlawful
Associations Act, Article 17 (1) in January 1999. Since June 2004,
his health condition has been deteriorating and he is now in a
critical condition due to lack of proper health care.

(4)Prome Prison

Dr. Than Nyein, the elected Parliament Member from Kyauktan
constituency, is now suffering from liver problems, heart diseases,
diabetes and nerve problems. Instead of receiving treatment for
his health, on days when he had appointments with doctors he
was transferred instead from one prison to another. Furthermore,
his health condition has worsened and his sentence has been
extended for another year under the State Protection Law, 10 (A).

(5)Kalay Prison

Ko Aye Aung is a student who was imprisoned for 45 years in
1998. Due to essentials, such as blankets, not being provided in
the severe winter weather conditions, Ko Aye Aung's malaria
condition has worsened.

Ko Nay Oo, member of the National League for Democracy, is now
also suffering from mental illness due to both torture and

Additionally, political prisoners in Kalay prison have to use balms to
protect themselves from the chilling weather; prison authorities do
not provide enough blankets.

(6)Mandalay Prison

Student leaders', Ko Thet Win Aung and Ko Nay Lin Soe, mental conditions are still serious. In addition, Ko Nay Lin Soe is now
suffering from poor eyesight and muscle paralysis.

(7) Myitkyina Prison

Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, the elected Parliament Member from
Amarapura constituency, is now suffering from low blood pressure
and there are many, undiagnosed, black spots on his face.

(8) Tharawaddy Prison

U Saw Nay Don (84), chairperson of the NLD (Paukkhaung branch) is the oldest political prisoner in detention and is now suffering
from hypertension.

- Asian Tribune -

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