Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Political prisoners on hunger strike

Nearly 30 political prisoners, including seven women and three Buddhist Monks, are staging hunger strikes to demand better prison conditions.Today, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported that 7 of the political prisoners who have been on a hunger strike in Insein Prison have been placed in solitary confinement in military dog cells, which are small cells where dogs are usually kept and notorious for brutal torture and extreme punishment.

AAPP has also learnt that the other political prisoners who have been on hunger strike may be transferred to remote prisons as a punishment.

On 16 May, Burma’s new ruler, Thein Sein, announced that all prisoners would have their sentences reduced by one year, and that those on death row would have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. This was designed to avoid releasing senior opposition leaders, many of whom were given sentences of 65 years or more after the pro-democracy uprising in 2007. One political prisoner is serving a 104 year sentence.
There had been speculation that there would be a mass prisoner amnesty, which happens regularly in Burma. However, Thein Sein is increasingly showing himself to be as or more hard-line than former dictator Than Shwe. In the first few months of becoming dictator, Than Shwe first acknowledged that there were political prisoners, and then released 427 political prisoners. Thein Sein’s government denies political prisoners even exist.
You can take action to help free political prisoners here:
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/campaigns/actions/free-political-prisoners/political-prisoners-action
Campaign successes such as the release of the prisoners in India depend on you. We receive no government funding and most of our income is from individual supporters like you. Please support our work to free political prisoners, in addition to taking action, with a donation here:
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/burma/donate/donate-now
Many thanks for your support.
Anna
Burma Campaign UK

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