Student Hunger Strikers Forcibly Hospitalized in Rangoon

By Zarni Mann 13 November 2015

MANDALAY — Students on a hunger strike at Thayawady Prison in Pegu Division, currently on trial over the education protests at Letpadan, have been sent against their will to Rangoon General Hospital, their families said.

Aung Hmein San, who began the hunger strike in late October to call for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, was sent to the hospital on Thursday alongside fellow student protester Myo Myat San. Authorities did not inform the families of either man.

“We only found out when our friends, who are close to the prison staff, told us,” said Lei Lei Nwe, the wife of Aung Hmein San. “We called the prison several times but they never told us the truth.”

According to their families, both students attempted to refuse their transfer despite suffering a rapid decline in health.

“Our friend said their health is in a serious condition,” Lei Lei Nwe said. “The prison authorities sent them to the hospital on Thursday night, using force as they refused to go. The prison authorities should inform their families about their health. Now they stay silent and abuse the rights of their prisoners.”

Meanwhile, in Mandalay Division’s Myin Chan prison, inmates Soe Hlaing and Si Thu Myat are preparing to file a civil complaint against prison authorities, who forcibly stopped their sympathy hunger strike.

“They said the prison authorities forced them to stop the strike and threatened to withhold water if they continued,” said Shwe Hla, a friend of Soe Hlaing.

There are now 8 students and supporters across several prisons who have participated in the hunger strike, down from 15 at its peak.

Phyo Dana, who was on hunger strike for nine days, is suffering gastrointestinal problems and went into medical care in Rangoon General Hospital on Wednesday. Three others abandoned the hunger strike due to declining health on the same day.