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Officials at Rangoon’s Insein prison beat a political prisoner, who was being transferred from Arakan state’s Sittwe prison to Pegu’s Tharawaddy prison, during a brief stopover at the facility on 31 July.
An Insein official Maung Maung Gyi along with prison guards assaulted Aung Thu, a political prisoner who was among 170 inmates moved from Sittwe prison, when he questioned them about seizing the transferred inmates’ food, reported the victim’s father Kyaw Thin.
“So he asked them about seizing the items and Maung Maung Gyi and the guards dragged him like a dog and beat him up. They told him ‘you layabouts are making a business out of politics’ and cursed him,” said Kyaw Thin, who was able to speak to his son by phone.
“He said he was handcuffed to a pole and beaten up. He sounded like he was crying.”
Kyaw Thin said he would file a lawsuit against the perpetrators who attacked Aung Thu.
Htun Kyi, spokesperson of Former Political Prisoners Organisation (FPPO), said the group strongly condemns the official’s mistreatment of Aung Thu.
“Now the country is in the process of a peaceful transition. However, prison authorities, even after transition into a civilian government, are still treating political prisoners in the same way they did under the previous military junta and we strongly condemn this,” said Htun Kyi.
Earlier this week, about 200 inmates from prisons across Arakan state were transferred to different locations across the country, including two political prisoners Aung Thu from Sittwe prison and Aye Min Phyo from Butheedaung prison.
Aung Thu was a first-year university student when he was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 15 years in prison after being charged for violating a plethora of laws including the immigration and unlawful association act.
According to statistics by the FPPO, there are more than 300 political inmates behind bars in prisons across Burma.