President Office of Myanmar (Burma) has released an instruction Wednesday to form
a committee to scrutinize the remaining political prisoners serving their terms
in prisons throughout the country so as to grant them liberty, the New Light of
Myanmar newspaper said today.
of Burma has been granting amnesty to prisoners of conscience serving their
terms in prisons across the nation, with a view to ensuring peace and stability
and lasting peace of the State, national reconciliation, inclusiveness in
political process, the state-run newspaper said. The government has been turning
the prisoners to ones who take their fair shares in State building realizing fair-mindedness
of the government, the newspaper added.
to the NLM, the scrutinizing committee for remaining political prisoners is reportedly
to be chaired by Union Minister at the President Office U Soe Thane and to be constituted
with representatives from government ministries, civil society organizations and
some political parties.
committee will define the meaning of prisoners of conscience and coordinate for
a set of framework for releasing and scrutinize the remaining political prisoners
and report the findings to the President.
Naing (General-Secretary) and Bo Kyi (Joint-Secretary) of Assistance
Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) based in Thailand have visited
Yangon since 5 January so as to
cooperate with other civil based organizations and political parties all for release
of the remaining political prisoners as well as their rehabilitation, according
to media reports.
planned to meet up the government authorities, politicians and members of 88
Generation Students Group during their visit.
the trip, Bo Kyi explained about AAPP's purpose concerning freedom of the
prisoners of conscience and to do away with repressive laws still in force. The
Association would go together with the 88 Student Generation group to reach its
objective, Bo Kyi added. Although the President Thein Sein government released several
political prisoners, he said, there are as many as 200 left behind bars.
to AAPP, "Torture in Burma's interrogation centres and prisons is brutal and systematic.
Political prisoners are subject to extreme physical assaults resulting in
internal bleeding and unconsciousness. In Burma, torture is not limited to
physical assaults, but extends to the authorities maintenance of general prison
conditions and the ineptness of the prison health care system. Prison
authorities routinely and deliberately aggravate prison conditions and deny medical
care to political prisoners, causing a level of suffering that amounts to
seconds of silence, The Death of Democracy Activists behind Bars, AAPP, May
has documented numerous cases of torture of political prisoners occurred since
1988. The organization warns that this
work is by no means exhaustive, as most former political prisoners remain
inside Burma, unable to speak about their torture for fear of repercussions.
to AAPP, "political prisoners are deprived of food, water, sleep, light, and
use of the toilet during interrogation and punishment. ["] Political prisoners
are punched, kicked, slapped, kneed, and beaten with a variety of
[instruments], including rubber or wooden batons, truncheons, rifle butts,
rubber cords, bamboo sticks and plastic pipes." AAPP describes various positions
in which prisoners are placed, "In one form, a political prisoner is strung up
by their feet and then spun around repeatedly. Another form is when a prisoner
is made to assume the position of an "airplane.' ["] In some cases, the
prisoners' faces are covered with cloth as water is poured over them making it
impossible to breath. ["] Electric shocks have been administered to political
prisoners, and are generally applied to the most sensitive parts of a person's
body, including the genitals." AAPP reported that the use of psychological
torture has increased over the years in Burma. The Darkness We See, Torture in Burma's
Interrogation Centers and Prisons, AAPP, December 2005.)
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) is a human rights
organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand that works for the release of all
political prisoners and for the improvement of prison conditions inside Burma.
Set up in 2000, AAPP is entirely run by former political prisoners.
It carries out a range of activities on behalf of Burma's political prisoners. AAPP is widely recognized as a reliable and credible source of information on political prisoner issues in Burma, by the United Nations, governments, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and respected media outlets around the world.