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Detainee on hunger strike to protest ill-treatment

Mar 19, 2008 (DVB), Ko Myo Thant, a political inmate in Insein prison who was arrested after the public protests in September 2007, has been on a hunger strike for the past four days, his sister said yesterday.

Ma Thi Thi Soe, Myo Thant's younger sister, saw her brother at his court hearing on Monday and said he had been put in solitary confinement in the prison’s canine unit on 2 March after having an argument with prison authorities.

She said he was now staging a hunger strike in protest against abuses and rights violations of prisoners.

"My brother was put in solitary confinement on 2 March after he and another political detainee, Ko Kyi Phyu, were suspended from taking showers and walking due to an information leak from inside the prison," said Thi Thi Soe.

"But it didn’t really have anything to do with them."

She said Myo Thant had also been blindfolded during his period of confinement and is now suffering aches on the side of his body due to poor living conditions.

Myo Thant, also known as John Nawtha, is a member of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network and was arrested in relation to public protests against fuel price hikes in September 2007.

He was later charged with defaming the government and sedition, along with seven other activists.

The next court hearing for their case is due to be held on 25 March.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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