Authorities Punish Pathein Prisoners For Protesting

By Network Media Group
Monday, January 16, 2023

Guards beat and shaved the heads of prisoners who took part in the 6 January protest at Pathein Prison, while authorities shaved the beards of Rohingya who joined the uprising at the facility in the Irrawaddy Region.

“Every person should have the right to follow their religious beliefs in prison. But the prison authorities and riot police forcibly cut off the beards of the Muslim men in prison and called them foul names when they were beaten,” an anonymous source from the Irrawaddy – Myanmar Muslim Network told NMG.

All the inmates who joined the protest were charged with disturbing the peace, a man close to the prison told NMG, which started after prison warden Zaw Sitt Aung and other staff accused four inmates, including political prisoner Win Tun, of having a mobile phone in prison. The guards seriously injured him while torturing him and the three others on the night of 5 January.

The next day, residents protested against the beatings and demanded better conditions for prisoners in the jail. Zaw Sitt Aung pretended to want to negotiate with the 72 prisoners who had joined the demonstration and called them over, but when they arrived they were beaten up by masked riot police. Maj Myint Aung, the police commander of Pathein District, and Lt Kyaw Oo, commander of Pathein Police Station led the crackdown on the protest in which one detainee was killed.

In addition, two youths from Kyaung Kon were arrested on the day of the protest for allegedly photographing the prison while visiting a political prisoner. On 7 January, three plainclothes police officers arrested Sanda Aye, the wife of prisoner Win Tun, at her home.