Monday, June 15, 2009

Four prison officials sacked for leaking information

Buthidaung (Narinjara): Four prison officials of Buthidaung prison including a prison warden and the jailer were relieved of their responsibilities following the leaking out of information and documents from inside the prison, said a close associate of prison authorities.

“U Tin Tun, warden of the prison, U Win Maung, jailer and prison doctor Htay Win and another official were dismissed from their jobs by the higher authorities on 30 May 2009,” he said.

A lot of information and photographs were leaked out from the Buthidaung prison, 80 miles north of Sittwe, recently. Higher authorities punished them by dismissing them from their posts.

“In the last few months, some photographs and information regarding the situation inside the prison were published by the media in exile. The authorities were angry when they saw them. Later they fired four officials from the prison,” he said.

In Buthidaung prison, notorious in western Burma, there are 25 political prisoners, including 88 generation student leader Ko Htay Kywe, a prominent monk U Ei Thariya, Ko Moe Nay Soe, Ko Maung Maung Chit, Ko Chit Ko Ko, Ko Than Htay and Ma Ni Ni May Myint.

“I heard some photographs and information were leaked outside through political prisoners after prison officials were bribed. Some foreign based Burmese radio services aired the situation inside the prison. After this some political prisoners were sent to solitary confinement for leaking of information outside,” he said.

The prison authorities then imposed many restrictions on the prison and most visitors have been prohibited to visit their relatives in prison since the incident.

A monk from Buthidaung said, “I went to the prison last week to give some parcels to my friend and monk in the prison but the prison authorities refused to give my parcels to my friend. They told me that monks did not have the right to give such parcels to prisoners.”

A relative of a political prisoner in Sittwe also faced a similar problem when he went to the prison to see the prisoner.

"I went to prison to see my friend and took some money and goods but the prison authorities refused to let me see him. I had to hand over the money and goods to a prison official for passing it on to my friend."

Buthidaung prison is located in a remote area of Burma and the ICRC and other human right organizations have no chance of visiting the prison to find out the state of political prisoners.

Many political prisoners are now facing myriad problems in the prison and most political prisoners are suffering from lack of medical treatment and adequate food.

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