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BURMA – Stop the torture against political prisoners!

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The wide spread
use of torture against political prisoners in Burma has been
condemned by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
(Burma), which issued a statement below on 28 September 2009 in
Mae sot, northern Thailand.
The wide spread
use of torture against political prisoners in Burma has been
condemned by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
(Burma), which issued a statement below on 28 September 2009 in
Mae sot, northern Thailand.

The Assistance Association for Political
Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) today strongly condemned the widespread ongoing use of
torture against political detainees in Burma.

New testimony from political prisoners released under a
general amnesty in Burma last week underlines the systematic patterns of abuse
and torture of political detainees. In an interview with exile media
group Democratic Voice of Burma, former student leader Myo Yan Naung
Thein, who was arrested in December 2007, described being kidnapped by unknown
assailants, hooded, and taken to an unknown location where he was brutally
beaten. He was also denied proper medical treatment and is now unable to
walk as a result.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia, another
released political prisoner and former student leader arrested in June 1998, Bo
Bo – also known as Moe Kyaw Thu – described being hooded and repeatedly
assaulted during interrogation.

According to AAPP, 128 political prisoners were released
under the latest amnesty.  But high-profile political prisoners like
labour activist Su Su Nway and comedian Zarganar were not amongst those
released.  Both suffer from serious heart conditions and have not received
adequate medical treatment in prison.

AAPP Secretary Tate Naing said, "Denial of medical treatment
is also a very cruel form of torture.  For those political prisoners who
are in poor health, it is a kind of death sentence."

So far this month, AAPP has documented the arrests of 36
activists in Burma, including three monks.  Those arrested include
well-known individual activist and US citizen Kyaw Zaw Lwin also known as Nyi
Nyi Aung, detained on 3 September on his arrival at Rangoon International
Airport.  He was taken to various different interrogation centres where he
was kicked and beaten, deprived of food for seven days, and questioned throughout
the night.  His request for medical treatment for his injuries has so far
been denied.

AAPP Joint-Secretary Bo Kyi said, "Even though Burmese
domestic law and international law forbids torture, no officials are ever held
to account for their actions.   There is no doubt about it: torture
is state policy in Burma.  We are deeply concerned for the safety of those
activists recently arrested."

"The military regime must allow the UN Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma immediate and unrestricted
access to the country to investigate these reports of torture," added Bo Kyi.

Since its founding in March 2000, AAPP has documented
hundreds of instances of torture experienced by political detainees.  In
2005, the organization published the report The Darkness We See: Torture in
Burma's Interrogation Centers and Prisons.


  • Sections 330 and 331 of the Myanmar Penal Code prohibit "voluntarily causing
    hurt to extort confession" and "voluntarily causing grevious hurt to extort
    confession" respectively, punishable with a prison term of up to seven years
    under Section 330 and up to ten years under Section 331.  Section 166 of
    the Penal Code prohibits public servants from unlawfully injuring anyone while
    discharging their duties, and provides a penalty of up to one year for this
  • Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "No one shall be
    subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or