Myanmar Junta Jails Disabled Student, Denies him Medical Treatment
By The Irrawaddy 11 June 2021
A student from Magwe badly wounded in a junta crackdown on anti-regime protesters and at risk of going blind in one eye has been denied medical treatment by the military regime and imprisoned instead.
Ko Liang Phyo Aung, a 22-year-old second-year engineering student at Magwe Technological University, was severely injured in his right eye after a violent crackdown by junta forces on an anti-regime demonstration in Magwe on March 27. He also lost his right hand, his left arm was broken and his mobility severely impaired by the wounds he suffered from being hit in the legs by multiple rubber bullets.
He received treatment for those injuries while in detention at a military hospital, where in April the junta charged him with incitement under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code.
The student was then sent to Magwe Prison on June 7, after the military hospital said that he is recovering from all his injuries except for his injured eye. But the military hospital stated also that his eye needs to be treated at Yangon Eye Hospital because the military hospital lacks a specialist eye doctor.
“His eye is oozing pus and is in urgent need of surgery. There is no eye specialist at the military hospital and he needs to be sent to Yangon for a cornea transplant,” said the elder brother of Ko Liang Phyo Aung.
“The medical report by the military hospital said his eye needs to be treated at Yangon Eye Hospital. But they sent him to prison right after the medical report was released,” he added.
The report also said that Ko Liang Phyo Aung still needs rehabilitation as he could not walk well due to his leg injuries inflicted by rubber bullets.
U Myat Thu Win, chairman of the Shwe Minn Tha Foundation, a group advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, requested that Ko Liang Phyo Aung be given treatment under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Myanmar has ratified, and under Myanmar’s own law protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.
“He used to be normal and became disabled only a few months ago. It will be hard for him to get used to it and perform daily activities. What is important is that he has every right to continue receiving treatment. I would like to request that he is given further treatment,” said U Myat Thu Win.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, Ko Liang Pyo Aung has the right to apply for bail to receive emergency health care.
Citing Section 497 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, lawyer U Khin Maung Myint said the judge can grant bail for accused people who are sick if there are reasonable grounds for believing that they have not committed an offence punishable with death or with transportation for life.
“The maximum penalty for violating Section 505(a) of the Penal Code is three years. As the case has not yet been brought to the court, bail can be applied for at the relevant police station and through the township police head,” said the lawyer.
“He is a disabled person now and was made disabled by their torture. It is too inhuman to prosecute him after making him disabled,” said the elder brother of Ko Liang Phyo Aung.
The regime has detained at least 15 physically or mentally disabled persons across the country, according to rights groups.
As of June 10, at least 860 people have been killed by the junta since their Feb. 1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. More than 4,800 people remain in detention.
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