Mandalay – Authorities at Obo Central Prison in Mandalay have filed criminal charges against five inmates over the death of a fellow prisoner in Cellblock No. 3 on Saturday.
Ko Kyaw Myo Thu, who was being held on a non-bailable charge of trespassing, was found dead on Saturday after the five inmates allegedly beat him to death.
According to prison authorities, the incident was triggered by a dispute between Ko Kyaw Myo Thu and another inmate, Ko Sithu Aung, over a right of passage within the crowded cellblock. Four of Ko Sithu Aung’s friends also joined in the attack on Ko Kyaw Myo Thu, according to the charges.
“Prison authorities arrived quickly, however Ko Kyaw Myo Thu died on the way to the hospital,” said a prison officer who asked not to be identified. “We are taking action based on prison rules, as well as filing murder charges at the police station against the five inmates.”
The prison authorities said that Ko Sithu Aung and the four other suspects also attacked prison officials. All five are currently being held in an isolation unit. The murder charges were filed at Mandalay’s No.2 police station.
Ko Sithu Aung and the four others were originally jailed on charges under Myanmar’s anti-narcotics law.
“The responsible prison officers for Block No. 3 will also be punished according to prison rules for not being able to stop the fight,” the senior prison official added.
According to the family of Ko Kyaw Myo Thu, who had been detained for about three months as he waited for his trial to be concluded, he was about to be released by the court.
“We are very sad because he was going to be free soon as the trial was nearly finished. Now we just want justice,” said Ma Lei Lei Moe, the murdered man’s wife.
Since Obo prison and many other jails across the country are overcrowded, disputes between inmates over places to live are common, although cases of inmates being beaten to death are quite uncommon.
The capacity of Obo prison is around 4,000. However, there are currently 7,000 inmates being held in the jail.