Thein Sein: Release 3 critically ill political prisoners



Three political prisoners in Burma are facing an imminent threat to their life if they are not released on grounds of compassion, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma said in a statement on Thursday.

The prisoners are Phyo Wai Aung; Sunny (also known as San Shar); and Mira Mauth (also known as Mayra Math).

All three are at a point where further imprisonment endangers their lives, the statement said.

The prisoners are:

Phyo Wai Aung

A recent medical exam revealed that Phyo Wai Aung, 32, has advanced liver cancer, and doctors said he only has a few months left to live. Over the past two years, appeals by his family requesting appropriate medical care were all denied. Doctors who diagnosed Phyo Wai Aung in prison warned he needed to be transferred to an appropriate hospital, but prison authorities denied the request.

He was severely tortured during interrogation, which aggravated his condition. He was held in solitary confinement for over two years.

Phyo Wai Aung, an engineer, was sentenced to death on May 8 on suspicion of involvement in a bomb plot even though there was no evidence linking him to the case.

The Asian Human Rights Commission recently issued a plea for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

Sunny (aka) San Shar (aka) Sinphyu Taw Tun

Persistent medical negligence has had a dire impact on Sunny’s already fragile health. He has common health conditions that are easily managed with appropriate medical attention, including diabetes and high blood pressure, but they have led to blindness and rapid loss of weight. His critical health condition is going untreated in Insein Prison, the nation’s most overpopulated prison with thousands of inmates and one under-staffed 50-bed hospital. Sunny is serving a sentence of life plus 13 years. He was charged under several acts, including Unlawful Associations and Emergency Provisions.

Mira Mauth (aka) Mayra Math

In Buthedaung prison, where there is no prison doctor, Mira Mauth, 69, is suffering from piles, diabetes, hypertension and strokes. As there is no adequate medical care in the prison, Mira Mauth’s health condition is rapidly declining and has reached a critical state.

He is serving a 3-year sentence under the Unlawful Association Act. He was initially sentenced to 10 years. On February 17, 2010, he met with U.N. Special Human Rights Rapporteur Tomas Quintana, who expressed concern that the prison conditions in Buthedaung fell short of minimum international standards.

Critical failures on behalf of the prison healthcare system have led to the death of at least two political prisoners in the past 6 months, according to the AAPP statement.

In December 2011, Zaw Lin Htun died after a long battle with several types of cancer. His family, as well as the AAPP, submitted appeals requesting an early release on medical grounds. None received a response.

In January 2011, Thet Nwe passed away 10 days after his release from prison. Brutal torture received while in prison coupled with advanced liver disease contributed to his death.

“The trend of political prisoners dying behind bars, or immediately upon release, is a serious crisis and should be treated as one,” said Bo Kyi, AAPP joint-secretary. “All of these deaths could have been prevented if there was early intervention from appropriate medical authorities. So-called reforms in Burma have had absolutely no effect on the lives of prisoners. It is a disgrace that lives continue to be lost in such a senseless manner.”

At least 153 political prisoners have passed away due to crucial delays in receiving proper medical treatment, he said.

For more information, contact Bo Kyi at +66 (0) 81 962 8713