Political prisoner hospitalised after beating by criminal convicts

A political prisoner being held in Yangon’s Insein Prison had to have his jaw wired shut after it was shattered during a beating by criminal convicts, according to a prison source.

The prisoner, Hlaing Nyi, is still being treated at the prison hospital for his injuries, said the source, who was unable to say when the incident occurred.

Hlaing Nyi, who has been in regime custody since his arrest on March 27, 2021, for allegedly attacking junta personnel with a bomb, reportedly got involved in a dispute with another inmate while they were hanging their clothes out to dry.

To resolve the issue, he went to another prisoner regarded as the leader of the prison’s criminal convicts. After he was accused of being disrespectful towards this individual, a number of prisoners started punching and kicking him, the source said.

Hlaing Nyi, right, seen in a military report about his arrest on March 27, 2021

Hlaing Nyi was then moved to another cell, and only later—after several of his friends said that he was complaining of dizziness and disorientation—was he admitted to the prison hospital, said the source.

“His mouth is wrapped in wires now, so he can’t eat solid food. He has to rely on fluids,” said the source, who added that Hlaing Nyi was expected to remain in this condition for around 45 days.

Hlaing Nyi was also one of 89 Insein prisoners who were brutally beaten for taking part in a Silent Strike protest against military rule in late 2021.

Late last month, prison authorities also cracked down on 21 prisoners who offered alms in memory of four activists executed in July.

All of the prisoners were tortured, and their four leaders—Ye Yint Ko, Ye Yint Bo, Wa Thone San and Han Thar—were placed in solitary confinement and forced to do hard labour, sources told Myanmar Now.

The situation inside Insein Prison has been tense since October 19, when an explosion there killed eight people, including prison officers and the relatives of prisoners.

On Monday, prison authorities lifted a ban on sending packages to inmates imposed in the wake of that attack, but relatives of prisoners say that strict new security measures remain in place.

In addition to having to present household registration papers and other documents before being allowed into the prison compound with parcels of food, medicine or books for prisoners, family members must now go through a second round of examinations once they get inside, relatives said.

On Thursday, hundreds of people were seen waiting outside the prison in the rain due to delays caused by the new rules,  residents of the area told Myanmar Now.

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