Political prisoners put in solitary confinement

June 15, 2009 (DVB), Five political prisoners in Burma's Insein prison have been put in solitary confinement after prison authorities suspected them of planning to demonstrate against the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Three of the detainees are reportedly in bad health. Nine Nine, a 1990 elected people's parliamentary representative who is serving 21 years, has been suffering from stomach problems for nearly 15 years, according to his wife.

"I was informed my husband and four other inmates were kept in solitary confinement after someone tipped the prison officials about them planning a protest in the prison," said Tin Tin Hla.

"Apparently that information was wrong." She added that prison authorities had banned her from visiting Nine Nine, thereby denying him the medicine she brought for his illness.

The four other detainees were identified as National League for Democracy (NLD) lawyer Soe Han, NLD member Aung Naing, All-Burmese Federation of Student Unions member Lwin Ko Latt and monk U Santimar.

Meanwhile, the leader of the All-Burma Monks Alliance (ABMA), U Gambira, has been transferred from Hkamti prison to Kale prison in Sagaing division, reportedly to receive medical care following an illness.

"In Hkamti Prison, he was having severe headaches at night so, he was moaning and screaming," said a relative of U Gambira, Ma Khin Mu Htay.

"Because of that, they stuffed clothes into his mouth. I also heard that his legs were shackled and kept apart by a wooden bar and his hands were handcuffed behind his back."

She added that when his mother visited him in Hkamti, he was so weak he struggled to speak.

The ABMA leader was active during the September 2007 protests, following which he was jailed for 69 years. He had been previously been transferred from Rangoon's Insein Prison to Mandalay, then to Hkamti.

U Gambira’s kin have also been jailed and transferred to Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Mergui, Moulmein, Taunggyi, and Loikaw Prisons, far from their families.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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