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Thursday, March 16, 2006

  • 6:30 AM
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) has said conditions in Burma's prisons are worsening.

Days after another political prisoner died in detention and a month after International Committee of the Red Cross officials were forced to cancel a prison inspection, AAPP says conditions in Burma's notorious prisons are deteriorating.

Ko Khin Maung Lwin, 38, a political prisoner, was reported dead on Wednesday in Putao hospital, northern Burma after receiving inadequate medical treatment.

"He has been suffering from hypertension, heart disease, piles disease, malaria, and urethra stricture. And despite of the prison superintendent's recommendation for medical treatment at least five times, he was denied treatment," said AAPP secretary Tate Naing.

Ko Khin Maung Lwin was taken to Putao hospital on January 10 but died the next day.

AAPP said Ko Khin Maung Lwin was the 125th political prisoner to have died in a Burmese jail and Tate Naing said as the political situation in Burma deteriorated, so would prison conditions.

"The prison conditions are dependent on the political scenario of the country. For now, the government imposed visa ban to international communities like [Amnesty International] and Mr Pinheiro (UN Human Rights envoy to Burma), to come into the country and also disturb the working of the ICRC," said Tate Naing.

The ICRC was forced to cancel a prison inspection on December 12 after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association, insisted on being present during the visit.

"The misunderstanding was that we had to do our prison visits independently. The ICRC staff has to do prison assessment independently and that was a small problem because we were not able to work with other associations," an ICRC official in Rangoon told Mizzima.

The official also said the ICRC had not been able to conduct any inspections since the incident.

The ICRC, which began operations in Burma in 1999, have made more than 230 visits to 80 Burmese prisons, jails and detention centres, registering about 5,800 prisoners.
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