Political Prisoners Released from Loikaw Suffer Health Problems

By Network Media Group
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Nearly all of the political prisoners released from the prison in Loikaw have underlying physical and mental conditions that require extensive long-term care and observation to fully recover, said Ko Htar Hpoe from Karenni Political Prisoner Association (KPPA).

Prisoners of conscience have faced regular beatings and torture by guards, are kept in solitary confinement, where they are deprived of food and water, and even when they’re in their cells, they are underfed, and the food they do receive lacks nutrition. In addition, while under custody, they do not get regular medical attention.

The prison warden has prevented families of the political prisoners from visiting them and even delivering them food.

Htar Hpoe said, “In prison, some political prisoners need to receive treatment for head (injuries). Some will need medical surgery. Other political prisoners suffer from a weak heart.” Pointing out that they should be receiving treatment in jail for these conditions, but only get it when they are out. Usually, just before their release, they’ll be sent to the clinic for some basic treatment, which is obviously just for show.

Five regular prisoners and a female political prisoner were released from the Loikaw prison on June 4. Since the coup, over three years ago, there were over two hundred prisoners of conscience freed.

It’s quite common for regular inmates to have their prison sentence reduced by twenty-five percent but this never happens for prisoners convicted for political crimes in Loikaw.

Currently, there are still about 200 political prisoners in the prison in the Karenni State capital, where there are also many Burma army soldiers. The jail is surrounded by resistance fighters, who control much of the town after launching its 1111 Operation last November.