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Amnesty: Torture and Appalling Cond

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Date: Tue, 26 Sep 1995 09:46:13 -0700
Subject: Amnesty: Torture and Appalling Conditions in Burma

This News Service is posted by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ (Tel +44-71-413-5500,
Fax +44-71-956-1157) Sender: Amnesty_International@xxxxxx Precedence:

News Service 176/95

AI INDEX: ASA 16/23/95


New information about torture and appalling conditions in
labour camps and prisons in Myanmar are highlighted in an
Amnesty International report released today.

      Unofficial sources report details of torture, prolonged
shackling, lack of proper medical care, and insufficient food
for both criminal and political prisoners.

      "Torture techniques, which include beatings --
sometimes to the point of unconsciousness,  being forced to
crawl over sharp stones and being held in the hot sun for
prolonged periods, are used by Myanmar's security forces to
punish and intimidate prisoners, " the organization said.

      Amnesty International has also received new information
about nine labour camps throughout the country where hundreds
of prisoners have died from ill-treatment, lack of food and
medical care. Thousands of  criminal prisoners are forced to
work on infrastructure projects breaking rocks and
constructing roads for long hours, often to the point of

      The organization is further concerned about the
transport of convicted criminals from prisons to act as
porters for the military during counter-insurgency
operations, many of whom die as  a result of ill-treatment
and disease. 

      Myanmar's military government has stated publicly that
prisoners can reduce their sentences by contributing
voluntary labour. Although Amnesty International recognizes
that some prisoners do volunteer for such work, it remains
concerned at current reports of thousands of other prisoners
who are forced to work in terrible conditions.

      Thousands of political prisoners remain in prisons
throughout Myanmar, including at least 800 in Insein Prison
near Yangon, the capital. Some have been held in iron
shackles for two months at a time. They are kept  in
overcrowded conditions and are given an inadequate diet.
Prisoners sometimes die from untreated illnesses, receiving
medical care only when desperately ill.

      These new reports confirm a documented pattern of human
rights violations. Amnesty International is calling on the
Myanmar military government to end torture and ill-treatment
and to allow international monitoring of its prisons.



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