Monk and activists mistreated in detention

Feb 9, 2009 (DVB), Buddhist monk U Kelatha from Mandalay, who is currently incarcerated in Irrawaddy division’s Henzada prison, was beaten up by a fellow inmate on the orders of a prison official on 28 January as a punishment.

According to a relative of the monk, Irrawaddy division prison director Tin Tun ordered a prisoner to beat up U Kethala when he discovered that the monk was wearing his prison uniform in the style of monks' robes.

"He told a prisoner to beat him 20 times and he himself punched and kicked him," the relative said.

U Kelatha was arrested and prosecuted along with monk leader U Gambira and is serving a 35-year jail term for his role in the September 2007 demonstrations.

Monks are routinely disrobed by the authorities when they are imprisoned.

Meanwhile in Mandalay’s Nyaung-U prison, political inmates have been denied basic rights, according to a relative of a prisoner.

Thi Thi Soe, sister of Human Rights Defenders and Protectors network member Myo Thant, said her brother had told her about prison conditions when she went to see him on 24 January.

"He said prisoners are not allowed to see one another freely and the conditions in Insein are about the level of a dog kennel at the moment," she said.

Thi Thi Soe said prisoner wardens had monitored her conversation with her brother.

Political prisoners are also barred from watching television and listening to radio, unlike other inmates, and are kept awake during the night, Thi Thi Soe said.

"They keep on beating tom-toms at night and they have to listen to them and can’t sleep," she said.

Thi Thi Soe said a prison official had also refused to accept medicines for her brother, who has been suffering from high blood pressure, claiming they were unnecessary.

In Insein prison in Rangoon, Myo Nyunt was locked in a dark cell and mistreated for staging a hunger strike.

Myo Nyunt, also known as John Nawtha, is a private English tutor and was arrested at the end of September 2007 in connection with the public demonstrations that took place that month.

Among the other political prisoners currently held in Nyaung-U prison are Thiha Win Tin, Tin Myint, Khin Mar Cho and Zaw Win.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew and Aye Nai

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