onsdag 31. mars 2021

‘People were going crazy’: Myanmar detainees recount military’s cruelty

Released from detention in Myanmar, protesters and journalists have described beatings, squalid conditions and cruelty under the military dictatorship that is opposed by most of the population. Hnin, 23, was arrested along with 400 other young people in a haze of stun grenades and teargas in the commercial capital Yangon on 3 March for protesting against the military coup. “When I opened my eyes, the police were holding guns in front of us,” she said. “We thought it was a dream, but it was a reality we couldn’t avoid.”

Some male protesters were struck with fists and batons, she said, but several officers stopped their colleagues from hitting the women. After their personal details were recorded at a local sports stadium, the detainees were taken to Insein prison, a colonial era compound notorious for torture. They are the latest generation of thousands of political prisoners to experience its filthy conditions.

Hnin shared her cell with 80 inmates and countless mosquitoes. As crackdowns intensified outside, more women were thrown in, particularly from Yangon’s poorest areas of Hlaingthaya and Shwepyitha, where security forces have unleashed relentless violence.