Eight Daik-U prisoners placed in solitary confinement

Concerns are growing for the safety of eight political prisoners who were placed in special confinement cells at Daik-U Prison in Bago Region two weeks ago.

According to the Political Prisoners’ Network, an exiled advocacy group, no information has been available about the prisoners since they were placed in solitary confinement on July 25.

Thaik Tun Oo, a spokesperson for the group, said the eight prisoners, aged between 20 and 45, were beaten before being placed in the tiny, poorly ventilated cells and have also been denied access to care packages from their families.

Only three of the prisoners have so far been identified by name: Phyo Aung, Aung Paing Thu,  and Aung Paing. The names of the others were still unknown at the time of reporting.

According to Thaik Tun Oo, the prisoners were subjected to the punishment after Phyo Aung refused to keep his head down during a visit by a prison officer. The other seven were punished for coming to his defence, he said.

Phyo Aung was sentenced to life imprisonment in January of last year after a special prison court found him guilty of offences under Myanmar’s Anti-Terrorism Law. 

Aung Paing Thu and Aung Paing are also both serving life sentences on similar charges for their alleged involvement in anti-coup protests and bombings in Yangon.

In late June, 37 political prisoners were removed from Daik-U Prison to be transferred to other detention centres. However, at least eight were subsequently shot dead for allegedly attempting to escape custody.

There are currently 19,731 political prisoners being detained in Myanmar’s prisons, according to the latest figures released by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which is also based in exile.

“This is the worst in history yet,” said AAPP secretary Tate Naing in a statement released on August 7.

More than 7,000 prisoners were released by the junta in an amnesty announced on August 1. However, only a small number of political prisoners, including some who had nearly completed their sentences, were among them.

Political prisoners are not permitted to receive visitors, and the International Committee of the Red Cross continues to be denied access to Myanmar’s prisons.


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