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Political prisoners locked in isolation cells

Mar 5, 2009 (DVB), Political prisoners, including 88 generation student member Htay Kywe, have been locked in isolation cells and barred from seeing family members at Buthidaung jail in Arakan state, west Burma.

"Htay Kywe is in good health but not allowed to see people from outside," said a former prisoner at Buthidaung who was recently released.

Along with Htay Kywe there are more than 10 political prisoners at Buthidaung jail, including monk leader U Eithritya, Taungup township NLD secretary Zaw Naing, and Than Htay.

"We were not allowed to have contact with political prisoners and if we did, we were punished," said another former prisoner.

U Eithritya refused to appeal for his release despite prison governor Sein Tun urging him to.

"He said I can’t kneel in front of them for my action. I have no wife, nothing to worry about or to yearn for. I should be released with their order."

The former prisoners claim that Sein Tun and his warders have been extorting money from visiting prisoners' relatives, and assaulting prisoners whose relatives didn't give them money.

"They said we will beat you up as much as we like and you can tell anyone you like including the BBC. We don't care," the former prisoner said.

They added that, due to the lack of medical care and proper food, inmates’ health has been deteriorating.

Reporting by Maung Too


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