Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Political Prisoner Commits Suicide - Maung San

The Irrawaddy News

A Burmese political prisoner, Maung San, committed suicide in Pegu Prison in central Burma on Dec. 19, according to sources in Pegu Division.

Maung San, who was about 35 years old, was serving a two-year prison term.

He committed suicide in a prison restroom, following the refusal of prison authorities to provide proper medical treatment outside the prison. He suffered from intestinal problems and liver disease, sources said.

A source said Maung San’s decision to take his own life stemmed from frustration over medical treatment, and his inability to talk freely with his family.

“He suffered from a serious illness, and he thought it would be better if he died instead of suffered,” said the source.

His family last visited with Maung San on Dec. 13 in Pegu Prison.

“When his family visited him in prison, his health condition was bad,” said the source. “He had asked prison authorities for proper medical treatment, but the authorities refused his request.”

Bo Kyi, joint-secretary of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said “The health condition of political prisoners is worse day by day. We are very concerned that they don’t receive proper medical treatment.”

“By ignoring serious illnesses, the Burmese authorities are conducting murder,” Bo Kyi said.

Sources said that Pegu Prison authorities impose many restrictions in dealing with political prisoners and their families.

In other prison news, in early December, Aung Kyaw Oo, a youth member of the opposition National League for Democracy who is serving a 19-year sentence in Pegu Prison, was savagely beaten and denied medical treatment, according to reports.

When Aung Kyaw Oo’s wife visited the prison on Dec. 3, she was denied permission to see him. She was allowed to visit him on Dec. 13.

On December 22, political prisoner Khin Maung Cho received an additional 5-year prison sentence. He is imprisoned in Yankin Township in Rangoon. He was sentenced under Immigration Act 13/1. On December 8, he was given 19 years imprisonment on a separate charge.

There are more than 2,100 political prisoners in Burma, according to human rights groups.

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