Women pressured to denounce monks

Oct 29, 2007 (DVB), Two women held in Insein prison were pressured to testify against monks, according to a National League for Democracy member who was detained with the women.

Ma Ohmar, an NLD member from Dagon Myothit township, spoke to DVB in an interview on 26 October, the day after her release.

She was arrested on 25 September and held first in a reserved holding area in Insein prison, then interrogated by the 8th Regiment at Mingaladon for four days before being sent to Insein prison on 29 September and held there until here release.

Ma Ohmar told DVB that a woman who was held in the cell next to her, Ma Ei, was pressured to testify as a government witness, and claimed she was given an earlier release because of her cooperation.

"Ma Ei was under tremendous pressure and she had to give testimony as a government witness, and she was released about two weeks earlier than us," Ma Ohmar said.

Ma Ohmar also claimed that Hnin Hnin from Ngwekyaryan monastery, another woman who is still in detention, was instructed to say that she had had illicit relations with monks.

"They recited what she should say and she repeated after them. They documented it on videotape. They intend to use her as a prosecution witness also," Ma Ohmar said.

"They are making up stories and videotaping it to prove that the monks in question are fake monks."

When asked about her own treatment in detention, Ma Ohmar said that she was not physically abused, but that food, water and medication were withheld from the detainees and they were deprived of sleep.

"They woke us up at awkward hours when we were sound asleep. Even the water they gave us was dirty. One day I was interrogated the whole day without water," she said.

She was refused medical attention and medicine for urinary problems, but was finally given some water to drink.

"I was very thirsty so I slowly drank the water like it was my medicine. When the water was almost gone, I found hairs, dead ants, and some deposits in the container," she said.

Many of those arrested during the demonstrations in September who have now been released have reported ill-treatment in detention.

Reporting by Moe Aye

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