Myanmar Regime Transfers Political Prisoners Out of Yangon

By The Irrawaddy 3 September 2021

Around 30 political prisoners who were detained in Yangon and convicted by court-martial for incitement for alleged anti-regime activities were moved from Insein Prison in Yangon to other jails around Myanmar, according to their lawyers.

“They were transferred a few days ago. I heard they were sent to Thayet Prison [in Magwe Region], Thayawady Prison [in Bago Region] and Myingyan Prison [in Mandalay Region]. But we don’t know who they are,” said a Yangon lawyer helping the detainees in Insein.

U Chan Aye Kyaw, a Correctional Department spokesman, declined to disclose details.

“Relatives can ask Insein Prison by letter about prisoners, such as where they were tried, where they are now and their health conditions,” he said.

There were reports that former National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker Daw Ni Ni May Myint and unsuccessful 2020 candidate Daw Chit Chit Chaw were among those transferred outside Yangon.

The two were detained on May 12 in Yangon and sentenced to three years for incitement under the colonial-era Penal Code, said Daw Ni Ni May Myint’s husband.

“I heard my wife was moved to Thayet Prison, but we have not yet been informed by the prison authorities. Daw Chit Chit Chaw was moved to Myingyan Prison. I heard around 30 political prisoners charged with incitement were moved out of Insein. And all of them are women,” he said.

He said he last had contact with Daw Ni Ni May Myint in early August.

NLD candidates Daw Ni Ni May Myint, Daw Chit Chit Chaw and U Min Aung were detained by the Arakan Army on the campaign trail on October 14 last year in Taungup Township, Rakhine State. They were released on January 1 this year after 79 days in detention.

Transferring political prisoners outside Yangon was a practice used by previous military regimes, said a lawyer.

“In the past, political prisoners were also sent outside Yangon. Family members then have difficulties visiting them,” he said.

By Sept. 2, 1,043 people, including children, had been killed by the junta since the February coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The organization said 6,132 people were under detention, of whom 260 have been sentenced to prison terms and 26 have been given the death sentence.

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