Burma

Prisoners Held in Solitary Confinement After Raising Three Fingers to Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 18 March 2022

Political prisoners held in Dawei, Tanintharyi Region, who raised three-finger salutes against military rule before their court hearings, have been placed in solitary confinement for nearly a month, prison sources told The Irrawaddy.

At least nine prisoners have been isolated after they allegedly incited other prisoners to display the gesture from the Hunger Games movies as they were taken to the court inside Dawei Prison in southern Myanmar last month.

They had been handed two- to eight-year jail terms for alleged incitement and illegal possession of arms and under the Counterterrorism Law. They still face other charges.

Family members said they are concerned for some of the older prisoners and some who were badly injured when they were being detained.

A member of Dawei Political Prisoners Network said: “They are oppressed in various ways. They were beaten when they were detained. They are denied medical treatment and freedom of speech. The regime must stop doing this to innocent people.”

Ousted Tanintharyi Region chief minister U Myint Maung has been held in solitary confinement since he was detained in February last year.

He was placed under house arrest after Feb. 1 and detained again on Feb. 9 and prosecuted. In November, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison— two years each for alleged violation of COVID-19 regulations and incitement, and seven years for violation of financial regulations regarding the use of regional development funds.

Political prisoners in Dawei joined a hunger strike last month. In Tanintharyi Region more than 200 political prisoners have been given lengthy jail terms while over 800 inmates are still on trial, according to the Dawei Political Prisoners Network.

Students are reportedly undergoing interrogation again or being placed under solitary confinement in Yangon’s Insein Prison. Four students, including central executive committee members of Yangon University Students Union, are believed to be in solitary confinement, the students union announced on Monday.

The Kale Prison authorities in Sagaing Region shot dead seven people and injured 12 on Tuesday when around 50 inmates took three prison officers hostage and tried to escape, according to the regime. No independent reports are available.

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