Political prisoners tortured after Monywa Prison riot

Some 20 political prisoners currently being held at Monya Prison in Sagaing Region have been subjected to repeated beatings and other forms of torture since a riot broke out there nearly a month ago.

A source close to some of the prisoners said that the torture began after an April 3 protest that turned violent when prison authorities responded to the unrest by opening fire.

Following the crackdown, at least 20 prisoners were taken to a separate ward, where they have been manacled and assaulted repeatedly for the past month, according to the source.

“Their feet are chained together, and a warder named Zaw Zaw Aung beats them whenever he’s drunk or stressed,” said the source, who did not want to be named.

“One prisoner’s nose was broken just the other day. They are also beaten with belts sometimes,” he added.

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify these claims, but considers the source to be reliable.

Since the April 3 riot, around 150 political detainees have reportedly been transferred from Monywa to other prisons, including Myingyan Prison and Obo Prison in Mandalay.  

Those still being held at Monywa Prison have been denied permission to receive visitors or communicate with their families, according to relatives.

The source who reported the beatings also said that additional charges are expected to be laid against those currently being held in the separate ward inside the prison.

“The prison authorities are also planning to file more charges against them regarding the riot,” he said.

There were also reports of protests inside Hpa-An Prison in Kayin (Karen) State last Wednesday, allegedly over the beating of a political prisoner. No further details about that incident were available at the time of reporting.

In the third week of April, at least 100 political prisoners, including student leaders, were transferred from Yangon’s Insein Prison to other prisons around the country, according to multiple sources. 

Insein Prison and Obo Prison are among the country’s most notorious detention centres. Both have a reputation for their brutality towards political prisoners.

As of April 29, at least 10,449 people have been imprisoned in Myanmar for opposing the regime that seized power in February of last year, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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