Myanmar prison authorities lift restrictions on sending packages to inmates

A ban on sending packages to prison inmates, imposed after a deadly bombing at Yangon’s Insein Prison earlier this month, has been revoked, according to the relatives of prisoners.

The restrictions, which had been in place since a series of explosions killed eight people and injured at least 15 others at Myanmar’s largest prison on October 19, were lifted on Monday morning, family members said.

Myanmar Now was able to confirm that Insein Prison and Obo Prison in Mandalay, as well as prisons in Pathein, Pakokku, Myingyan, Hpa-an and Tharrawaddy, are now allowing inmates to receive letters and care packages.

A relative of a political prisoner being held in Insein Prison reported seeing a large number of people there during the day sending food and other items to detained loved ones.

“The majority of us were just bringing home-cooked meals, as we assumed that was what they would want most right now,” the relative said.

She added that security was also tighter than usual at the prison. The area where the explosions went off is now surrounded by metal fences, and a prison officer was conducting security checks on other prison staff, she said.

While most restrictions have been lifted, some new ones have also been imposed. Only registered family members are allowed to send money to prisoners now, said the relative, who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity.

“Before, anyone could send money or medicine, but not anymore,” she said.

Five of the people killed in the bombing were civilians, including the family members of political prisoners.

Kyi Myint, the mother of Lin Htet Naing, a former central executive committee member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, was among the victims.

A group calling itself the Special Task Agency of Burma claimed responsibility for the attack, which was carried out using parcel bombs, according to Myanmar’s military junta.

At least some of the casualties are believed to have been killed when prison guards opened fire after the explosions went off.

Myanmar has more than 90 prisons and jails nationwide. The regime continues to detain a total of 12,783 people on politically motivated charges, according to a statement released by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners on Friday.

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