EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 16/02/96
UA 01/96 Ill-treatment / Health concern 4 January 1996
MYANMARSaw Naing Naing, member of parliament-elect
Monywa Tin Shwe, lawyer
U Win Tin, prisoner of conscience
Myo Myint Nyein, magazine editor
Dr Myint Aung, member of parliament-elect
Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the health and safety of Saw
Naing Naing, Monywa Tin Shwe, U Win Tin, Myo Myint Nyein, and Dr Myint Aung,
political prisoners held in Insein Jail, Myanmar's largest detention facility.
The five men, all members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the
main opposition party, have been subjected to severe ill-treatment since
In mid-November, prison officials began to interrogate the five about letters
which had been smuggled out of Insein Prison to Professor Yozo Yokota, the
United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights on Myanmar. Such letters
provided details about ill-treatment and poor conditions in the prison. Prison
officials forced the five prisoners to sleep on concrete floors without mats
or blankets in "military dog cells", which are small cells where military dogs
are normally kept. The five have also been denied access to their families,
which is usually granted every two weeks. Prisoners' families normally provide
them with food and medicine, both of which are inadequate in the prison.
All five prisoners are in poor health and in need of proper medical attention.
U Win Tin, a prisoner of conscience since 1989 and member of the NLD Central
Executive Committee, suffers from spondylitis, an inflammation of the
vertebrae. Saw Naing Naing, NLD member of parliament-elect from Pazundaung,
Yangon (Rangoon) Division, was arrested in October 1990. Dr Myint Aung,
arrested in November 1990, is an MP-elect from Mandalay Division. Monywa Tin
Shwe is a lawyer and Central Committee member of the NLD who was arrested in
September 1990. Myo Myint Nyein is a magazine editor who worked for the
Information Section of the NLD and also provided security for Aung San Suu
Kyi before her arrest. He has been imprisoned since September 1990.
Reprisals against those who provide information to representatives of United
Nations human rights bodies is contrary to the UN Commission on Human Rights
The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC, Myanmar's military
government) took power following the violent suppression of widespread
pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988. Hundreds of people were killed during
the military crackdown, with hundreds more arrested and imprisoned in 1989.
General elections held in 1990 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the
NLD, the political party founded by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However the SLORC
refused to hand over power and has continued to rule by decree since 1988.
Elected MP's were never allowed to take their seats in parliament; instead,
dozens were arrested and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Currently
20 MPs elected remain in jail.
Freedom of expression, association and assembly are severely restricted in
Myanmar, and anyone expressing opposition to the SLORC is at risk of arrest.
Although over 2,000 political prisoners have reportedly been released since