Thursday, July 2, 2009

Health of Political Prisoners Deteriorating in Buthidaung

Buthidaung (Narinjara): The health of two political prisoners being held in Buthidaung prison in Arakan State has been deteriorating by the day due to lack of proper medical treatment, said one former prisoner who did not want to disclose his name.

"The health of Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni May Myint were not very well before I was released from prison. Ko Moe Nay Soe is suffering from paralysis while Ma Ni Ni May Myint is suffering from weakness," he said.

However, they are not receiving proper medical treatment in the prison, he said.

Ko Moe Nay Soe was severely tortured by prison authorities soon after he arrived at the prison from his hometown because he refused to follow some restrictions imposed by the prison authority.

"Ko Moe Nay Soe, Ma Ni Ni May Myint and their colleagues were sent to the dog cells after the incident. They had to sleep on the concrete floor in the dog cells everyday. Ko Moe Nay Soe has since begun suffering from the paralysis," he added.

According to a family source, the health of Ma Ni Ni May Myint has been deteriorating the last few weeks due to bad weather, but family members have not been able to send medicine to her.

Many political prisoners in Buthidaung prison depend primarily on their family for medicine, but have been unable to receive such packages since the authority imposed restrictions.

Ko Thein Aung, who is a human rights activist in Arakan said, "Family members of political prisoners in Buthidaung prison are unable to send medicine and food inside the prison after four senior prison officials were sacked from their jobs."

The authority banned visits from family after the four senior officials were sacked, due to information being leaked to the outside. The prison officials that were fired were prison in-charge Tin Tun, prison doctor Htay Win, jailer Win Maung, and one other unidentified person.

Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni May Myint were arrested along with three other political activists in Taungup in southern Arakan State for observing the anniversary of the 1988 protests on August 8, 2008.

The Taungup court sentenced them to two and a half years in prison and sent them to serve their terms at Buthidaung prison.

At least 25 political prisoners, including Reverend Monk Ei Tharya, former student leaders Ko Ko Gyi, KoMaung Maung Thet, and Ko Chit Maung Maung are being held in the notorious Buthidaung prison along with Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni Myint.

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