Families Fear for Hunger Strikers Skip to main content

Families Fear for Hunger Strikers


Insein Prison, situated in the northwestern suburbs of Rangoon, is the current site of a hunger strike by 15 political prisoners.

Family members of the 15 political prisoners who have been on hunger strike in Rangoon's Insein Prison since Wednesday say they are anxious for the health and the lives of their loved ones.

The 15 political dissidents said they are refusing to eat until they and all other political prisoners are afforded the same terms as criminal prisoners who are automatically given one-third off their sentences in return for good behavior.

Prison authorities have banned relatives of the hunger strikers from visiting and from sending personal supplies, including water and medicine, to the dissidents.

On Thursday, prison wardens stopped issuing the 15 with drinking water, and on Saturday eight of the group were transferred to holding cells that are otherwise used as kennels for guard dogs.

One of hunger strikers' family members told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the prison officials didn’t give them an exact reason for the ban on supplies.

“I asked several members of staff at the prison, but all they would say is that the dissidents had been involved in other crimes inside Insein,” she said. “We tried to see the head of the prison, but he wouldn't meet us.”

One of the hunger strikers, Nyi Nyi Tun, a writer and the editor for the Kantarawaddy News Journal, is reported to be suffering from severe pain as a consequence of beatings sustained during interrogation. In January 2010 he was sentenced to 13 years on media-related charges—including having contact with an exile news group and using electronic media without permission.

Ohmar, the wife of hunger striker Soe Moe Tun, said that she is very worried for her husband.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Monday, Ohmar said, “I have to go and visit my husband this Thursday as per the schedule. All I can say is that I’m very worried for him.”

Nyi Nyi Tun and Soe Moe Tun were also involved in a hunger strike at the prison in May.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports have come in that several hunger strikers have been sent to the prison hospital for medical attention.

Aung Zaw Tun, the spokesman for a network that assists the families of political prisoners, said that his organization is trying to get news from the hunger strikers, but as Sunday and Monday are not visiting days, no one has been able to provide an update recently.

He told The Irrawaddy on Monday that “the case of the political prisoners is a sensitive issue for the authorities. What we can confirm is that eight of the hunger strikers were sent to the military dog cells, and that the authorities banned their supply of drinking water since the day after the hunger strike began.”

Bo Kyi, the joint-secretary of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma, said that about 1,600 political prisoners remain behind bars across the country.

“They need to be recognized as prisoners of conscience,” he said. “The Burmese prison authorities usually crack down brutally on striking prisoners, so we are worried for their lives.”


Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g