Urgent Statement on Political Prisoners and Prison Conditions Across Burma

August 9, 2022

At present, news on prison conditions in the country is under a blackout. The outside world is likely unaware of the real situation inside prisons – of human rights violations, torture, and murder.

Monitoring Inside Prisons by Military Security Affairs Forces and Police

The terrorist junta have ordered Military Security Affairs Forces (SAF) and police forces, to directly manage the prisons, as well as closely monitor the prisoners with strict rules to prevent information from getting out.

Prisons Visits Banned

In many of the places, including Yangon, and Obo (Mandalay) Prison, political prisoners have been denied visitation access by relatives since the terrorist junta seized power. As a result, prisoners are deprived of food, medicine and of contact with the outside.

Transfer of Political Prisoners to Different Prisons; Torture and Extortion

During the month, political prisoners have also been transferred to other prisons. In Monywa Prison, political prisoners were transfered twice in July and August, to Myingyan Prison, Nyaung Oo Prison, and Shwe Bo Prison. We also know that on August 5, more than 120 political prisoners from Insein Prison were transferred to Tharrawaddy Prison.

Last July, around 100 political prisoners from Hpa-an Prison were transferred to other places, including Insein Prison. Among the political prisoners transferred, members of the Hpa-an Student Union were beaten and tortured on a daily basis.

In Magway Prison, political prisoners were beaten daily without reason, both the family members and prisoners faced challenges because they were not informed before of the transfer to another prison.

Political prisoners are also forced to do hard work such as carrying sewage and sacks of rice. In addition, they are beaten by a group of other prisoners without cause, until they were severely injured and made to sleep near the putrid sewage. If political prisoners refuse to do this, there are unfair demands like how much money they must pay. Whilst criminal prisoners are ordered to beat political prisoners.

Increased COVID-19 Infections Within Prisons

Increasing numbers of prisoners are catching COVID-19, they are being isolated without medical treatment. Around 50 political prisoners are infected in Obo Prison. Since they are not allowed to see relatives, they find it difficult to get medicine and food. At least three political prisoners are in serious pain and life-threatening condition.

Hunger Strikes

Political prisoners who have been sentenced to death, as well as families, are concerned, they are victims of severe mental stress following the execution of four political prisoners including two prominent activists. Particularly since the terrorist junta force’s announcement that “more death row prisoners are to be executed”. Following this, there have been reports that political prisoners in some prisons are on hunger strike.

We are particularly concerned about the danger to these lives due to solitary confinement, and the severe beatings of political prisoners. There is, therefore, an urgent need to reveal the true situation. AAPP has been told that since a hunger strike in Obo Prison on August 4 and August 5, two gunshots were heard from the prison. Families of the detained are worried.

We, AAPP, strongly condemn these human rights violations, torture, and killings concealed within the prisons. We urge the United Nations, international governments, human rights organizations monitoring the political situation, the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as ASEAN member states to demand the genuine prison conditions, as well as take action to prevent such targetted and widespread human rights violations.

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)

Download link for statement 08.09 Statement on Current Situations in Prisons_AAPP_9 August 2022