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PRISONERS RECOUNT HORRORS IN LOIKAW
Date: October 16, 1997
PRISONERS RECOUNT HORRORS IN LOIKAW PRISON
Burmese Military Intelligence officers in Loikaw Prison, Karenni State, beat prisoners, use various forms of torture, sexually abuse female prisoners and force women to give birth in their cells, according to a female prisoner recently released from the p
Ma Hnin Nu (not her real name), 32, spent a year in Loikaw Prison with 70 other female prisoners, most of whom were incarcerated for their involvement with opposition political organisations. She told the ABSDF that prisoners are beaten with batons, forc
ed to kneel on broken glass and to look at a glaring high-voltage bulbs for a long periods as part of punishment or during interrogations.
Sources estimate there are about 800 prisoners including a considerable number of political prisoners in Loikaw Prison. Most of them are in prison for political offences such as associating with an illegal political organization and breaching internal sec
urity laws. Ma Hnin Nu says those who conduct the torture against the prisoners are military intelligence officers from Burmese Intelligence Unit 27, led by Lieutenants Kyaw Kyaw Thu and Kyaw Win.
She says that women in Loikaw Prison are not given proper care during pregnancy or during their menstrual periods. Some women who go into labour are not sent to the hospital but instead are forced to give birth in their cells. Others are subject to sexual
abuse by one particular warden, but also by other prison officials.
Ma Hnin Nu believes that HIV/Aids is spreading in the prison due to the repeated use of dirty needles at the hospital. Those who can afford to bribe the prison officials are the only prisoners exempt from abuse and are allowed clean needles.
Ko Thaung Tin, 37, is another former prisoner of Loikaw. He was sentenced to 7 years with hard labour after a fight with the chairman of the Village Law and Order Restoration Council. He recently fled to the Thai-Burma border and said that he was recruite
d as a porter for the Burmese Army at Loikaw Prison, which is not an unusual practice.
Ko Thaung Tin says that with the shortage of under-5 year prisoners who are usually used as porters, the SLORC has now begun to use prisoners sentenced between 5 and 10 years. Porters are forced to carry heavy loads, brutally beaten, underfed and not give
n medical care. Those who cannot walk or carry the supplies are often killed or left to die in the jungle.
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