Annual Report: Myanmar (Burma) 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Myanmar (Burma) 2010

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  • In January, a court sentenced Bo Min Yu Ko (Phyo Gyi), a member of the All Burma Federation of Students Union, to 104 years in prison under various charges including six counts under the Immigration Act.
  • In May, after an unidentified American man entered the property of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the authorities arrested her for violating the conditions of the house arrest she had been under since 2003. After a partly closed trial in Yangon's Insein prison, she was sentenced to three years of hard labour, immediately reduced to an additional 18 months of house arrest.
  • In September, the authorities detained Kyaw Zaw Lwin (Nyi Nyi Aung), a man from Myanmar with US citizenship, when he arrived in Myanmar to visit his family – four members of which are prisoners of conscience. While in custody, security officers tortured Kyaw Zaw Lwin and denied him medical treatment. In October, he was tried on charges of fraud and forgery. The authorities publicly stated that Kyaw Zaw Lwin could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Prison conditions

The authorities continued to send and hold political prisoners in prisons far away from their families and friends, despite telling the UN Human Rights Council in March that prisoners receive visits and necessary health treatments. At least 220 political prisoners had been moved to remote prisons since November 2008, making it extremely difficult for families to provide essential assistance. Conditions in prisons continued to be extremely poor, including inadequate food, water and medical care. Authorities frequently kept political prisoners in solitary confinement.

  • In March, Hla Myo Naung, an activist imprisoned nearly 1,500km from his home, was in danger of completely losing his eyesight. He had already gone blind in one eye after being denied specialist medical treatment.
  • Beginning in March, Ko Htay Kywe, a student leader held more than 1,100km from his family, was held incommunicado and in solitary confinement. Prison authorities threatened other prisoners with severe punishment if they spoke to him.
  • In March, Su Su Nway, an NLD campaigner, was hospitalized in a prison over 1,000km from her home. Prison authorities gave her mental health medication which caused her condition to worsen. She was kept in solitary confinement on an intermittent basis as punishment for various offences and denied family visits.
  • In May, Zarganar, a comedian and activist held over 1,400km from his home, was in urgent need of medical attention for various health problems, including an enlarged heart. He lost consciousness in April and was only taken to the hospital 10 days later. Following a visit to Myitkyina prison on 7 December, Zarganar's sister-in- law confirmed that he was suffering from the skin disease pruritus.

Targeting ethnic minorities

The government continued to target ethnic minority activists for their work on political, environmental, and/or religious issues, and for their real or imputed support of ethnic political and armed groups.