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Burma: Allow Early Release of 3 Political Prisoners Facing Imminent Threats to Life Due to Critical Health Conditions

By Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma  •  May 23, 2012

The health conditions of 3 political prisoners in Burma have entered a critical stage, with the 3 inmates now facing imminent threats to their life if they continue to be held in adverse prison conditions. To prevent any further declines in their health, AAPP urgently requests the government of Burma to immediately allow Phyo Wai Aung, Sunny also known as San Shar, and Mira Mauth also known as Mayra Math early medical leave from prison on humanitarian grounds.

Even though the judicial system in Burma allows early leave for sick prisoners, Phyo Wai Aung, Sunny, and Mira Mauth remain in harmful prison conditions. All three are at a point where further imprisonment would endanger their lives or reduce life expectancy, normal circumstances for granting early medical leave.

The situation could not be more grave for the 3:

Phyo Wai Aung

A recent CT scan has revealed that Phyo Wai Aung, 32 years, has advanced liver cancer, leaving doctors to predict he only has a few months left to live. Over the past 2 years, appeals by his family requesting appropriate medical care were all denied. Doctors who diagnosed Phyo Wai Aung in prison warned for the need of external hospitalization but prison authorities were persistent in their refusal. The severe torture he was subject to, well-documented in a previous press release by AAPP, aggravated his health condition. That Phyo Wai Aung was held under unclear status in extreme solitary confinement for over 2 years means he lost valuable time where he could have received appropriate medical care.

Phyo Wai Aung, an engineer, was sentenced to death on 8 May 2012 on suspicion of involvement in a bomb plot even though there was no evidence linking him to the case.

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

Persistent medical negligence is having a dire impact on Sunny’s already fragile health status. Common health conditions that are easily managed with appropriate medical attention, including diabetes and high blood pressure, have caused blindness and rapid weight loss in Sunny. His critical health condition is going unnoticed in Insein prison, the nation’s most overpopulated prison with thousands of inmates, yet only has one under-staffed 50 bed hospital.

Sunny has been serving a sentence of life + 13 years since 13 April 2007. He was charged under several acts, including Unlawful Associations and Emergency Provisions.

Mira Mauth (aka) Mayra Math

In Buthedaung prison, where weather conditions are harsh and there is no prison doctor, Mira Mauth is suffering from a barrage of serious conditions including piles, diabetes, hypertension, and strokes. His advanced age of 69 years has deepened the severity of his chronic illnesses. As there is no adequate medical care in the prison, Mira Mauth’s health condition is rapidly declining and has already reached a critical state.

Mira Mauth, is serving a 3 year sentence under Unlawful Association Act. He was initially sentenced to 10 years. On 17 February 2010, he met with Special Rapporteur 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 2 political prisoners in the past 6 months:

In December 2011, Zaw Lin Htun passed away after a long battle with several different types of cancer. His family, as well as AAPP, submitted appeals requesting an early release on medical grounds. None received a response. A month later, 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. 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,”” said Bo Kyi, Joint-Secretary of AAPP.

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

AAPP urges relevant authorities in Burma to allow Phyo Wai Aung, Sunny, and Mira Mauth early leave from prison on medical grounds, in line with international human rights standards.

For more information:

Bo Kyi (Joint-Secretary): +66 (0) 81 962 8713

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This post is in: Press Release

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