Saturday, November 12, 2011

Burmese political prisoners who staged hunger strike not allowed to meet family

Friday, 11 November 2011 22:08 Tun Tun

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Fifteen political prisoners in Insein Prison who staged a hunger strike to demand remission of their sentences have not been allowed to meet with their families, according to the Helping Network for Families of Political Prisoners (HNFPP).

An aerial view of Rangoon's Insein Prison Photo: MizzimaUnder the prison manual, ordinary prisoners have been granted remission of their sentences, but political prisoners have been denied remission since 1997.

The hunger strike started on October 26.

Aung Zaw Tun, an HNFPP member, told Mizzima: “The family members of Soe Moe Tun and Nyi Nyi Tun went to the prison to meet with them. But the authorities did not allow the family member to meet, but they took the parcels given by the family members. Soe Moe Tun and Nyi Nyi Tun will not be allowed to meet with their family members for one month.”

In Insein Prison, family members of a prisoner are allowed to meet with the prisoner once every 14 days. Parcels can be sent to prisoners once a week.

The prison manual says that all prisoners, except prisoners who received a death sentence or life, can receive remission of a sentence.

The prison manual says that prisoners who stage a protest or who cause problems can be sent to a “military-dog cell” [a small cell about 8 x 10 feet], can be transferred to another prison, can be physically punished or denied permission to meet with their families.

Not permitting a prisoner to meet with their family is also a form of punishment, Aung Zaw Tun said.

He said: “Not giving remission to political prisoners is a violation of the prisoner manual. Political prisoners staged the hunger strike because the authorities have failed to give their rights to them. They [prison authorities] also have not allowed them to meet with their families and that is double punishment, we think. We can’t accept that.”

He said he believed the hunger strike ended because prison authorities allowed parcels to be sent to the prisoners.

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