4. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

– Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

4.1 Background

 

Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment have been used by the military government in Burma for more than 40 years and have been particularly documented since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising when the use of torture increased. The law in Burma does not specifically prohibit the use of torture. Instead, "hurt" and "grievous hurt" are cited as prohibited acts which are punishable under Articles 330 and 331 of the 1957 edition of the 1861Burmese Penal Code. Punishment for breaking this regulation for the purposes of extracting a confession or evidence which could lead to blame for some sort of misconduct is imprisonment for up to seven to ten years. Under Article 323 anyone who "voluntarily causes hurt" may be subject to up to one year of imprisonment. Under Article 325, imprisonment of up to seven years is called for those who "voluntarily cause grievous hurt." Furthermore, under Article 166, public servants are prohibited from unlawfully inflicting injuries on anyone while in the line of duty. Violation of this regulation calls for up to one year of imprisonment. (Source: Myanmar; Justice on Trial, Amnesty International, 30 July 2003)

 

In February 2003, Amnesty International conducted their first ever country visit to Burma and submitted their findings and concerns about the administration of justice in Burma to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) for their commentary. The lack of a clear definition and prohibition of torture in Burmese law was one the concerns highlighted. Amnesty International reported the following: "The SPDC responded that torture was explicitly prohibited under Myanmar law: “In Section 330 of the Penal Code, the ingredients of ‘torture’ are prescribed. The following are the illustrations of the said section: ‘(a) A, police officer tortures Z in order to induce Z to confess that he committed a crime, A is guilty of an offence under this section. (b) A, police officer tortures B to induce him to point out where certain stolen property is deposited, A is guilty of an offence under this section. Whoever voluntarily causes grievous hurt in the commission of “torture” shall be punished with imprisonment up to seven years. Whoever voluntarily causes grievous hurt in the commission of “torture” shall be punished with imprisonment up to ten years.’” (Source: Myanmar: Justice On Trial, Amnesty International, 30 July 2003)

 

According the U.S. Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2003, the continued abuse, torture, and beating of civilians, prisoners, and detainees by the security forces of the Burmese military government contributed to the deterioration of the SPDC's already poor human rights record. Members of the army, Military Intelligence (MI), police, Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and armed groups aligned with the SPDC such as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) routinely use torture to punish and degrade (break) those who have been detained on suspicion of anti-government activities, including political prisoners and villagers living in areas where there is ongoing armed conflict. Torture has the dual purpose of being a method used to obtain information on anti-government and rebel activities, as well as a way of putting terror in the hearts of the population to thwart participation in anti-government activities. In addition, torture is used to extort money, as well as to give punishment for failure to obey orders, failure to pay fees and taxes, as a result of prejudice or a combination of these factors.

 

Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment during the Depayin Massacre

 

On 30 May 2003, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her convoy of National League for Democracy (NLD) members, and local NLD supporters were brutally ambushed near Kyi village, a remote area outside of Depayin, Sagaing Division. The attack was led by members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). The USDA is a social organization organized and supported by the SPDC and is chaired by Sr. Gen. Than Shwe of the SPDC. The incident on 30 May 2003 has come to be known as "Black Friday" or the "Depayin Massacre" and has been described as "the most ruthless and bloodiest attack on the democracy movement in Burma since the 1988 massacre." (Source: Briefing: Black Friday & the Crackdown on the NLD, ALTSEAN, No.03/004, 24 June 2003)

 

According to eyewitness accounts, hundreds of USDA members, police, men dressed as monks, soldiers and prisoners from Mandalay prison brutally attacked the NLD convoy and thousands of supporters with bamboo clubs and metal rods. Others were beaten over the head, had their clothing stripped, and some women were reportedly left naked. The windows of Aung San Suu Kyi's car were broken and those trying to protect her were knocked down. (Source: "Eyewitness Tells of Bloody Friday," Irrawaddy, 6 June 2003) (See chapter on assembly and association for further information.)

 

The following is an excerpt from the testimony of Daw Nyunt Nyunt, an NLD member of Mandalay North West Township, who was present during the attack at Depayin:

 

"...While we were being beaten up, those in the front car were also being assaulted.  That car had no roof.  I could see them being beaten up, there could have been about 15 in that car.  Since I was underneath the others, I could look into the distance.  I saw that they were shouting and the more they shouted, the more beatings were given.  Every one of us was moaning.  U Chit Tin from our car was dragged out and they knocked his body against the car.  Then they held my back and pounded it with a brick. They slammed the brick full face on my back.  If they did it edgewise my hip would be disjointed.

 

8. Only then I realized that we were really being attacked.  My body was soaking with blood, blood that flowed from Uncle and the youth who were all crouching.  My whole sarong was soaking.  My head was not injured at that point. Then from the back I heard them say, “These female creatures parading around with their pinni jackets- take off these pinni – look at your mugs!”  They pulled off our jackets, tore them off.  Then one person came up and snatched our sling bags which contained our money.  Not satisfied, they snatched the chains we were wearing, and tugged at our legs and backs.  I was dragged by the hair out of the car to the ground.  When I fell to the ground they went on beating me.  I looked up and saw two monks; one man had his sarong slung across one shoulder.  He wore a shirt, and knee length pants. His cap was back to front.

 

9. They pulled me and pushed me.  Then one voice said “hpoun, hpoun (Monk) catch her quickly, this creature will run away.  What has your Indian’s wife, Aung San Suu Kyi done for you? We have built bridges and roads on which you all can walk.”  Then they uttered some obscene words I cannot mention. Then again we were beaten up.  I was struck on my ribcage and my ears.  I felt like my ears had burst open. The three of them struck me on the buttocks and my back one after the other.  Then they struck me on the head.  One blow cut open my head.  The other blow struck the back of my ear and my neck was covered with blood. They beat me up to their hearts content while abusing me.  Then one of them said that should be enough beating for a woman.  After that they called out, "Fire, Water, Fire, Water, Backing, Backing," – as a symbol and boarded the car and left in the direction of Saingpyin."

 

(Source: The Second Preliminary Report, The Ad Hoc Commission on Depayin Massacre (Burma), May 2004)

 

4.2 Torture during Detention  

 

Political activists who work in opposition to the government often face torture after arrest and during the initial period of interrogation by officials. According to Amnesty International, political prisoners have reported that Military Intelligence personnel are most frequently responsible for torture during the interrogation period. Political activists are often detained and denied the ability to contact family, lawyers, or medical services. Torture is used to punish them and to compel them to cooperate with interrogators. Political prisoners face both physical and emotional torture, often during prolonged periods of detention after the initial arrest while they are isolated from public scrutiny. Many of these prisoners are forced to sign false confessions admitting to anti-SPDC activities or implicating colleagues or friends in such activities. Some are forced to sign documents stating that they have been well-treated during interrogation and in jail. Others say that they have been held incommunicado following torture to allow time for the physical signs of torture to heal before they are seen by anyone. Amnesty International also reported that young male political activists are at greater risk of torture than other detainees, particularly those who have had written or oral contact with opposition groups or those who have been students and attempted to organize anti-government demonstrations. (Source: Myanmar: The Administration of Justice-Grave and Abiding Concerns, Amnesty International, 1 April 2004)

 

In December 2003, Amnesty International conducted their second ever country visit to Burma. During their visit, reports of torture during interrogation were raised with the Attorney General and his staff. The Attorney General indicated that reports of torture during interrogation would not be considered seriously as there were no witnesses to support the claims of political detainees. (Source: Myanmar: The Administration of Justice-Grave and Abiding Concerns, Amnesty International, 1 April 2004)

 

Former detainees, including political prisoners have implicated at least six departments of the SPDC’s security forces in torture and ill treatment. The six departments are as follows:

 

(1) SPDC’s army of Phythu Tatmadaw (People’s Defense Forces);
(2) The People’s Police Forces;
(3) the Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence (DDSI);
(4) the Special Investigations Department (SID);
(5) the Criminal Investigation Department (CID); and
(6) the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI).

 

The activities of DDSI, SID, CID and BSI are coordinated by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), under the direct control of the SPDC. The DDSI is also commonly known as the MIS or Military Intelligence Service and is the agency most frequently identified as inflicting torture during interrogation, Since 1988, the units under its control (MI-1, MIS-1, MI-3, etc.) have nearly doubled from 14 in 1989 to 23 in 1991. Lt-Gen. Khin Nyunt, Prime Minister of the SPDC, is the head of the DDSI.

 

Methods of Torture in Detention and Prison

 

MI personnel systematically interrogate detainees in order to get information and false confessions. The methods of abuse and torture include, among other things: electrocution, sleep denial, forcing people to stand or squat in uncomfortable positions, such as if one were sitting on a motorcycle, for long periods of time, rolling iron or wooden rods along a person’s shins, pouring water over a person’s head covered in plastic, forcing them to kneel on sharp stones or pieces of glass, hanging them by the arms and feet and putting bullets or pencils between the fingers and then squeezing them together. In addition, some women also suffer from sexual abuse, such as having some or all of their clothes removed during interrogation. In his report to the Sixtieth Session of the Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma expressed his concern regarding “the continuing ill-treatment of detainees in pre-trial detention, especially allegedly in the Military Intelligence interrogation centres.” He further indicated that detainees are often subject to forms of both physical and mental torture during the pre-trial detention period. (Source: “Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar,” Sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights, United Nations Economic and Social Council, 5 January 2004)

 

When activists or suspected persons arrive at an interrogation center, the MI first breaks down their confidence and morale. They are kept in the interrogation center for one to three weeks during which there is non-stop interrogation by rotating teams of MI. Most are not allowed to sleep and are usually not fed or given any water. When they are sent to prison, they are beaten at the prison gate by the prison staff. They can face punishment in prison if they complain about the lack of water and poor quality of food, stage a hunger strike or are found holding small amounts of paper. Moreover, they are kept in iron shackles and kept in tiny cells for months and are not allowed to bathe, have family visits etc. (Source: AAPPB, found at http://www.aappb.org/report3 .html)

 

Beatings

 

The SPDC uses many forms of beating to intimidate and torture prisoners and detainees. Soldiers use their fists, combat boots, rifle butts, leather-coated pipes, wooden sticks, sticks made from three interlaced pieces of cane, solid bamboo sticks about three feet in length, and hard plastic water pipes to beat their victims.

 

Beatings are designed to physically harm and humiliate victims. The following are a few typical types of beatings: the prisoner is beaten while he/she stands and embraces a post and both hands are held firmly by another person; the prisoner is beaten while laying prone on the ground; the prisoner is beaten while being forced to stand with both legs chained; the prisoner is beaten while being forced to crawl along the ground; the prisoner is shackled, a long iron bar is placed in between their legs, and they are forced to crawl while being beaten; and prisoners are beaten while being forced to do continuous squat-jumps. Authorities do not hold back and they strike victims in the face, chest, abdomen, and back. They also jump on the backs of prisoners while they are being forced to crawl on the ground. Prisoners routinely receive serious injuries from beatings, including fractured skulls, broken bones and paralysis.

 

Solitary Confinement

 

An iron rod, about 1 1/2 to 2 feet long is often placed horizontally between the shackled legs of prisoners in solitary confinement, forcing them to stand or lay with their legs astride. Prisoners are locked in tiny cells during their confinement. Normally, small chamber pots are placed in each cell. The pots are never emptied, so the smell becomes unbearable and the cell damp and wet. In the worst case of solitary confinement, prisoners are forced to stand with both arms tied above their head; they are forced to urinate and defecate while standing. Small daily food rations of soup made from rice are slid through the iron bars from outside of cell. No blankets or mats are provided; prisoners are forced to sleep on the concrete floor. Most days, prisoners are taken out of the cells, forced to stand in the standard position, with their legs splayed apart, and beaten. Solitary confinement usually lasts for at least one month and may continue to three months. In some cases, political prisoners are forced to remain in solitary confinement indefinitely.

 

4.3 Torture During Forced Portering and Forced Labor

 

Throughout 2003, civilians continued to be conscripted or arbitrarily seized as porters to carry heavy loads for SPDC army battalions. Porters are rarely given enough food, rest or medical attention for illness or injury. Porters that complain about exhaustion or ill-treatment, or who cannot keep up, are regularly verbally and physically abused. Porters who are too sick or exhausted to continue are sometimes beaten or shot and then left in the jungle for dead.

 

At forced labor sites across the country, such as for the construction of roads or army camps, villagers are routinely mistreated by SPDC personnel supervising them. In addition to long hours and not enough food or rest, those who are not thought to be working hard enough face physical abuse, such as beatings with bamboo sticks or hands. Verbal abuse is a common complaint of those who have experienced forced labor. As a result of ILO pressure on Burma, the recent trend has been to increase the number of prisoner laborers and prisoner porters to take the place of civilian forced porters. (See the chapter on forced labor for more information about forced portering and forced labor conditions.)

 

4.4 Torture of Villagers in Areas of Ethnic Armed Conflict

 

Torture, beatings and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment are commonplace in areas of ethnic armed insurgency. Villagers are routinely detained, interrogated, beaten and tortured arbitrarily on suspicion of contact with opposition groups. Torture and beating of villagers often goes hand in hand with other human rights abuses, such as extortion, looting and destruction of property. The fear of physical injury deprives villagers of their livelihood as they are kept from traveling in areas where SPDC soldiers are present. In conflict zones SPDC soldiers are able to confiscate farmland and put curfews and other restrictions on the movements of villagers. Villagers caught breaking curfew or traveling in areas they have been restricted from can be accused of helping rebel groups and tortured, beaten or killed.

 

4.5 Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment Partial List of Incidents for 2003

Karen State

Note: Dooplaya, Pa-an and Papun Districts, as reported below, are all areas demarcated by the KNU as Karen territory. Dooplaya District falls mostly in SPDC demarcated Karen State and partially in SPDC demarcated Mon State. Dooplaya District is under the patrol of the 6th Brigade of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Papun and Pa-an Districts fall entirely in SPDC demarcated Karen State. Papun District is under the patrol of the 5th Brigade of the KNLA and Pa-an is under the patrol of the 7th Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize these as official districts. Instead, the SPDC considers there to be 3 districts (North to South: Kawkareik, Pa-an and Myawaddy) and 7 townships (North to South: Than Daung, Papun, Hlaing Bwe, Pa’an, Kawkareik, Myawaddy, and Kya In Seik Gyi) within Karen State. These townships do not correspond with the KNU demarcated districts and townships, even for those which share the same name.

Dooplaya District  

On 4 February 2003, there was fighting between KNLA troops from battalion 17 of Brigade 6 and SPDC troops from LIB 415, Column 1 led by Column Commander Nyunt Aye. When the KNLA troops left after the fighting, the above mentioned SPDC troops cleared the area and entered Wama village. They went into the nearest house belonging to Saw Yoo Nor, son of U Thoung Sein, and found and took his money, which amounted to 35,500 kyat. The troops burnt down the rest of his property and house. At the same time, the troops unlawfully arrested another villager from Wama namely Saw Ohn Myint (age 38), and tortured him. As a result, he was seriously wounded. (Source: KORD, 2003)

 

On 10 February 2003, at 1:30 pm, troops from SPDC IB 83 led by Column 1 Commander Nyunt Aung came to Plaw-pa-htaw village, Kya-in Township and beat up a villager named Naw Pree (female, age 75). The troops also looted 1 of her chickens. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 14 March 2003, at 10:30 am, a corporal from SPDC LIB 583 along with other soldiers, led by Company Commander Captain Thet Naing Moe, beat up Saw Po Kway from Ta-bin-daing village, Win-yae Township without reason. Saw Po Kway has been in the process of taking his sick mother to the village clinic in Laik-pote when the troops stopped him and beat him. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 25 March 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 289, led by Camp Commander Mya Lwin, fired a heavy weapon at the market and, as a result, Taung-zun villager, Naw Loo (age 40) was hit in the head and killed, while her daughter, Naw Chit Mu Pi, aged 18, was wounded. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 22 April 2003, troops from SPDC IB 61, led by battalion commander, Htun Lin Aung fired heavy weapons into Kaw-daing village, Kaw-ka-reik Township. As a result, Daw Ma Kyi (age 27), and Daw Su (age 53), were wounded by shrapnel. (Source: KIC, 2003).

 

On 22 April 2003, troops from SPDC IB 61, led by Battalion Commander Htun Lin Aung, beat up U Pay (age 58), and Maung Thein (age 25). The 2 victims were from Kaw-daing village, Kaw-ka-reik Township. The soldiers used a thick bamboo stick to beat them and wounded U Pay on the head and arms. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 8 July 2003, at 7:45 p.m., troops from SPDC IB 34 Columns 1 and 2, led by Battalion Commander Mya Htun came to Lay-po village, Win-yae Township, and arrested villagers, brutally tortured them and forced them to carry army rations. The victims were:

 

(1)   Saw Bleh Heh, male, age 41;

(2)   Saw Hsa Dah, male, age 38;

(3)   Saw Hsa Neh, male, age 34;

(4)    Saw Naing Khin, male, age 32;

(5)   Maung Kyaw Mi, male age 41;

(6)   Saw Kwee Meh, male, age 44; and

(7)   Saw Dah Kli, male, age 35.

 

Those who did not happen to bring their own food were not given food. Moreover, the troops looted 4 pyi of rice from the house of Ma Ei Kya, 2 pyi of rice from Naw Wah Klay, and a chicken from Paw Gay. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 8 July 2003, Major Hla Moe of SPDC IB 231 came to Bay-la-mine village, Win-yae Township and hit a villager, U Kauk Ya, on the head with a rock and took him away with the troops. They also tied up Man Tin Nyunt (male, age 37), and Saw Po Ri (male, age 35) with ropes and beat them brutally. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 13 July 2003, around 8:00 am, troops from SPDC LIB 284 arrested 3 Ta Kah Khee villagers in Kya Inn Township area, took them back to their military camp and tortured them during an interrogation. Those villagers were, Maung Kyaw Win (age 34), Saw Lah Bwe (age 35), and Saw Wah Moo (age 37). The troops continued to interrogate the 3 villagers and later released them when the village headman Maung Kyaw Win came and recommended them. (Source: KORD, 2003)

 

On 30 July 2003, Captain Hain Htay from SPDC LIB 519 arrived in Pi T'ka village in Kya Inn Township and arrested villager Saw Pah Lu (age 35), son of Kyaw Hsi Has. They tortured him while interrogating him because they accused him of being in contact with the KNU. As a result of the torture, Saw Pah Lu was seriously wounded. His head was broken and he fell unconscious. At the time of this report, he was in the hospital receiving medical treatment. (Source: KORD, 2003)

Pa-an District

On 21 February 2003, at about 6:00 pm, the SPDC controlled DKBA troop 555 led by Pah Daw Baw and under his control, Officer Saw Di and Maung Nay La, seized a headman of Kweelay village tract, Hlaing Bweh Township. The headman’s name was Saw Ah Hsu. The troops tied him up with rope and pulled him along with them up to Mawpoeklah. They tortured him by beating him and roughly poking him on his head with the point of gun (AR) 3 times. As a result, he was seriously wounded and bleeding on his head and body. The troops said that they would kill Saw Ah Hsu because he was communicating with the KNU. Therefore, all the villagers in the village had to give them 150,000 kyat and their guarantee for Saw Ah Su to be released. (Source: KORD, 2003)    

On 6 March 2003, DKBA 999, Battalion 2 led by Commander Saw Pah Wah proceeded to Lahhtaweh village, Takrae Township and sent for the village headmen to come and gather in the village. There they kicked and beat the 2 village heads U Ka Ma and U Soe Ta and extorted 100,000 kyat from them. (Source: KORD, 2003)

 

On 10 June 2003, Burmese Army troops from LIB 703, Column 2 led by Bo Kyi Tun entered Htee Thablu Hta village where they beat and punched a villager with gun butt. After that they called the villager to go along with them to Kyauk Ta Lay Kho and released him. When they left they totally burned down all of the farm huts. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 12 June 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 703 Column 1 and 2, along with DKBA Battalions 999 and 555, came to Ta-wee-kho, Pa-kay-kwee and Htee-per villages. At Htee-per, the troops brutally beat up Pah Li Bay, son of Pah Lee Lu and attempted to rape another villager named Naw Koo. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 13 June 2003 at 12:00 pm, combined troops from BA LIB 703 led by Column 2 Commander Tun Tun Win and DKBA troops led by officer Pah Daw Bo entered Htee-Per village where they looted 10 baskets of rice, 30 chickens, and 1,000 kyat worth of goods from a shop. They beat villager Pah Li Hsi's head with gun and severely injured his head. They also threatened the women. When the women were afraid and came down out of the house the troops took the women’s belongings, as they liked. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 15 June 2003, the BA's troop from LIB 703, Column 2 led by Major Shwe Win and Company Commander Tun Tun Win misfired with another BA troop from LIB 703, Column 1 led by Major Tun Tun Naw. After fighting they came directly into a village and told the villagers that they had fought with KNLA's troops. In the village, they tied up some villagers, accused them of having connections with resistance groups, beat and tortured them severely. They looted villagers' belongings and shot dead the domestic animals for meat without paying back the cost. The troops threatened to burn down the village if any more clashes with KNLA took place later. They also accused the villagers of only supporting the KNU. The troops said to the villagers that they came here to fight, not for worship. Nobody dared to speak out about the events. In the evening of the same day, the troops accused a villager of having contact with the KNU. They kicked the villager’s pregnant wife 2 times. Because her belly was hurt, she ran away and hid. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 15 June 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 703 led by Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Htun Htun Naung, Column 2 Commander Swe Win and Company Commander Htun Htun Win tortured Ta-ray-po-kwee villagers in various ways. The victims were:

 

(1)   Saw Ta Toe Wah, male, age 23, son of Tee Tu Gaw;

(2)   Kyaw Pa Kyay, male, age 20, son of Saw Htun Pe;

(3)   Mya Kyi, male, age 20, son of Sein Myaing;

(4)   Ku Lu, male, age 25, son of Aladin;

(5)   Naw Mu, female, age 40, daughter of Pa Kyet;

(6)   Naw Ka Moo, female, age 53, daughter of Pa Naw Klaw;

(7)   Pa Naw Po, female, age 37, daughter of Pa Di Naw;

(8)   Saw Pi Li, male, age 22, son of Po Thet;

(9)   Maung Nay Win, male, age 35, son of Pa Kaing Kyoo;

(10) Naw Hser Moo Htoo, female, age 20, daughter of Pa Shwe Maw; and

(11) Saw Ko Sit, male, age 25, son of Pa Taw Naw. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 16 June 2003, in a village the troops from LIB 703, Column 2 led by Major Shwe Win and Company Commander Tun Tun Win looted 70 baskets of rice and then forced 32 villagers to carry supplies to the Klaw Ka Ti camp. On the way, officer Tun Tun Win told a tortured man not to tell anyone about the event if the operation commander questioned him. When the tortured man arrived at the camp the operation commander questioned him about his wounded head and he told him that he was beaten by officer Tun Tun Win. After that the operation commander did not continue to interrogate him. The villager also added the troops looted many of the villagers' belongings. But the operation commander did not believe him. Later he ordered his subordinates to check all of the soldiers' bags and found 3 golden rings, 2 pair of golden earrings, 21,600 Thai baht and 8,000 Burmese kyat. The properties that were looted belonged to Hta Toe Po, Naw Hser Bo, and Ma Tun May. The villagers' belongings looted at this time by the BA's troops altogether worth 460,000 kyat. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 17 June 2003, troops from LIB 703 led by officer Tun Tun Win entered Kyauk Ta Lay Kho village and looted a pig belonged to Ma Than Yin as well as 12 chickens from the village. They slept there for a night. In the morning when they left, they demanded 4 porters to carry their supplies to Klaw Ka Ti. On the same day some troops left behind at the motor road summoned the village headman, Saw Per Hai to come toward them. When the village headman arrived they slapped his face 2 times and forced him to carry supplies to Htee Nyar Li Kyo. The troops also slapped a villager Saw Pah Kwa on the back of his neck 2 times when they saw him on the motor road. In the evening the troops again entered Kyawk Ta Lay Kho village and asked Saw Pah Nar Lo to climb and pluck coconut. Because he could not climb, the troops beat him 2 times. In the village the troops demanded one basket of rice and looted 10 gas lighters, 2 watches, 2 batteries, and 2 packets of dry noodle from a shop. In addition, they looted 1 packet of smoke from the village headman's house. On the same day they left for Kho Maw Kee camp. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 30 June 2003, 8 soldiers from SPDC LIB 703 came to Ta-ray-po-kwee village, Hlaing-bwe Township, and went into the house of Naw Ka Moo, pointing their guns at members of the household. They kicked the backs and chests of the household members with their army boots. The troops looted 45,000 kyat, and 30,000 kyat worth of cooking oil, dried fish and a set of school uniforms from the house. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 3 August 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 703 Column 2 led Tun Tun Win and DKBA led by Pah Daw Bo and Moe Kyo came to Htee Pah Reh village, Lu Plein Township, of Pa-an district and tortured the following villagers:

 

(1) Saw Ta Klay Tay, age 60, was kicked with military boot in the throat once and on his head once;

(2) Saw Tha Htoo, age 42, was kicked in the lower jaw once and beaten 6 times on the back of his body;

(3) Saw Kyaw Hey, age 45, was kicked several times;

(4) Saw Kyaw Nyen, age 37, was kicked in the head 2 times;

(5) Saw Pah Tu Noo, age 55, was beaten 10 times;

(6) Pah Thein Yin, age 34, kicked 1 time; and

(7) Pah Moo Hai, age 45, was beaten 2 times.

 

These troops also shot dead a pig with 1 tiny baby for meat which belonged to Naw Klo Mae and was worth a total of 50,000 kyat. They also looted 2 bags and destroyed a tin of rice as well as ½ viss of chili belonging to Naw Pler Pler and cut her foot and sarong with a knife. Moreover, they looted belongings at Paw Mu Na's house worth 20,000 kyat. From Naw Mu Dah, they took 2 bags, 2 sarongs for women, and some costume dresses for women. Finally, they looted things at Naw Bler Moo's shop worth 250,000 kyat. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 4 August 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 703 Column 2 led Tun Tun Win and DKBA led by Pah Daw Bo and Moe Kyo came to Htee Mo Kee village, in Pa-an district and tortured the following villagers:

 

(1)   Pah Ta Hoe, age 30, was beaten 5 times and hit on the head with a house pole;

(2)   Pah Ta Ku, age 32, was beaten 5 times;

(3)   Pah Mu Thart, age 30, was beaten 3 times;

(4)   Pah Koe Mee, age 35, was beaten 3 times;

(5)   Saw Naw De De, age 30, was beaten 3 times,

(6)   Pah Naw De, age 34, was beaten 4 times;

(7)   Kyaun Kah, age 31, was beaten on his legs; and

(8)   Maung Oh Tin, age 40, was beaten on his thigh 3 times and got 1 cracked wound.

 

The troops looted 1 chicken from Naw Mu Thart, 1 chicken from Naw Wah Wah, 1 chicken from Pah Doh Wah, and 3 chickens from Naw Kyen Mu.

 

On the same day, they went into Khaw Thoo Kee Village and tortured villagers Saw De Gay (age 32), by beating him 3 times, and Naw Kyen (age 29), beating her 3 times. The troops shot dead a pig for meat which belonged to Ma Paun worth 350,000 kyat and a goat which belonged to Naw Pen worth 15,000 kyat. The troops also looted items from Naw Ket's shop worth 150,050 kyat and from Naw Ee Thay's shop worth 4,500 kyat. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 5 August 2003, combined troops from SPDC LIB 703 Column 2 led Tun Tun Win and DKBA led by Pah Daw Bo and Moe Kyo went into Pa-nen-lay-wah-ka-day and burned down a house containing 10 baskets of paddy, which belonged to Htee Mo Kee villager Pah Thet Len (age 65). He was sick and unable to move. The troops beat him 5 times and then took away 4 of his machetes and looted 5 chickens. All of his belongings in his house were totally burned and after everything happened, the villagers went to take him back. After that the troops shot fleeing villagers at Lay Kaw Htit with their guns. They also looted 10 chickens, 3 blankets, 4 men's sarongs, 3 pots from Khaw Thoo Kee Villager Naw Bler Ah and also shot dead a buffalo. They looted 1 purse containing 500 kyat and 24 baht, 1 blanket, 2 bags, 5 pyi of rice, 2 gas lighters, 1 torch light, 1 water proof plastic, 2 shirts, 3 chickens from Htee Mo Kee Villager Saw Pah Ngh, and 1 bag containing 3 precious stones altogether 200,000 kyat and 50 baht from Pah Tar Ler. (Source: Department of Information, KNU, 2003)

 

On 30 August 2003, DKBA troops led by Mo Jo summoned Htee-pa-rai Village Head, Pa Kyaw Pay, beat him up and demanded a pig. Moreover, these troops forced 3 villagers, Tha Moo Po, Pa Maung Heh and Saw Naw Tu, to run and fired their guns to terrify the villagers as they ran. Maung Ni from DKBA 555 summoned the 3 villagers back and demanded 266,000 kyat and a pig for the cost of the rounds fired at them as they were running. The troops also whipped Pa Maung Heh for about 10 strokes. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

Pa-pun District

On 9 January 2003, Battalion Commander Min Chit Oo from SPDC division 44, (Na Ba Ha) Tactical Command 442, LIB 2, beat four villagers of Ma Htaw village when he was drunk and on road security duty in Ma Htaw area. The 4 villagers who were beaten were:

(1)   Aung Mya, headman of Ma Htaw village, age 40, was hit 10 times with a stick and a gun was shot near his ear;

(2)   U Htun Aye, age 38, was hit 15 times with a stick and a gun was shot near his ear 2 times;

(3)   Pah Too To, age 35, was hit 2 times with a stick and a gun was shot near his ear three times; and

(4)   Ma Tin Kyi, female, age 40, was hit 8 times with a stick.

(Source: KORD, 2003)

On 29 January 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 63 came to Thwa-hta village, Mae-mwe village tract and seized 7 villagers. The troops beat the villagers up and forced them to carry food supplies for the army. Later, the same troops went to Kler-si-kho village and tortured 2 villagers named Pah Kat Kyee (age 23) and Pah Kyaw Baw (age 23). They also tortured 2 villagers from Tha-per-pah named Pa Kaw Lar (age 25) and Pah Too Kah (age 40). In addition, the troops looted from the following Tha-per-pah villagers:

(1) Pah Ler May, 1 pig and 1 chicken;
(2) Pah Baw, 2 chickens and a packet of cheroot;
(3) Naw Hser, 2 chickens;
(4) Naw Mwee, one chicken;
(5) Naw Ma Yin, 2 chickens; and
(6) Naw Tu, 1 chicken and 1 flash light. (Source: KIC, 2003)

On 5 February 2003, SPDC IB 36 Column 2 Officer Thet Htoo, entered Hteethebluhta village and arrested 1 of the villagers named Saw Maw Kyaw (age 35). They tortured him bitterly by hitting him 4 times with the back of a chopper, jabbing him in his face three times and hitting him 3 times at the calf of his legs. He was an impoverished villager. After torturing Saw Maung Kyaw, the troops took property and food from the villagers in village as follows: 1 tin and 1 pyi (8 small tins) of rice, 5 chickens, 5 coconuts, 3 bottles of liquor and 5 viss of pork. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 2 May 2003, SPDC LIB 434 arrested a Na Ku Nah villager named Maw La Tin. They covered his face with cloth for 2 hours and tortured him by beating him with a bamboo stick and struck him with their fists. Then the Commander let him go. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 7 May 2003, Battalion Commander Aung Khin from LIB 434 arrested a villager named U Than Sein. The Commander dried the villager in the sun and kept him at the military camp for 22 days. Then Commander Aung Khin beat the villager with a bamboo stick and let him go. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 18 May 2003, SPDC LIB 434 arrived Ta Gun Taing village and arrested a villager named U Kyaw Tint and put him in stocks for 2 days. On the same day, these troops forced Klaw Day villagers to cut 150 wooden posts for them. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 28 May 2003, SPDC LIB 434 Battalion Commander Aung Khin again arrested a Klaw Day villager named Htun Htun Oo (age 28), interrogated him, tortured him and let him go. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 28 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 434, led by Battalion Commander Aung Khin, tortured a villager named Htun Htun Oo (age 28), of Win-naw village, Dwe-lo Township without reason. (Source: KIC, 2003)

On 9 August 2003, SPDC LIB 434, Division 66, and Division 6 entered Ta Dwee Kho village, Bu Tho Township and seized 5 Ta Dwee Kho villagers and 6 Khaw Klah villagers. The troops took the villagers back to the LIB 434 camp and tortured them by kicking and beating because they accused the villagers of planting landmines against them. It was reported that the troops killed 3 of the villagers and the rest had not yet been released at the time of this report. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 9 September 2003, Company Commander Sien Win from DKBA 333 entered Htee Theh Lay village, Dwe Lo Township and tortured the following villagers:

(1) Saw Hla Shwe, 30 years old;
(2) Saw Pa Bweh, 55 years old;
(3) Pa Kyaw Khay, 30 years old;
(4) Saw Kyaw Ku, 25 years old;
(5) Saw Pla Thay, 22 years old;
(6) Saw Maw Lo Kho, 32 years old;
(7) Saw Baw Kaw, 46 years old;
(8) Saw Win Khaing, 35 years old;
(9) Saw Maung Lay, 33 years old;
(10) Saw Ri Htoo, 29 years old;
(11) Saw Bee Na, 38 years old; and
(12) Saw Lay Pu, 37 years old.

At the same time the troops took and ate 7 ducks, 25 chickens, 1 basket of chicken eggs and 1 basket of duck eggs. They also took 4 pyi (32 small tins) of rice and 2 big baskets from the villagers. (Source: KORD, 2003)

On 8 October 2003, IB 51, Column No.2, led by Commander Tin Hlaing entered Htee Doh Hta village in Butho Township, seized and tortured the village head Pa Maung Kla until one of his arms broke. Later, the village head, with his broken arm, managed to escape. If he had not escaped, he surely would have been killed. (Source: KORD, 2003)

Mon State

 

Note: Thaton District, as reported below, Thaton District falls mostly in the SPDC demarcated area of Mon State, while the area to the east of the Donthami River lies within SPDC demarcated Karen State. Thaton District is under the patrol of the 1st Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize this area as an official district.

 

Thaton District

 

On 23 April 2003, DKBA troops combined with troops from SPDC IB 11, led by Column 2 Commander Aung Za Ya Lin, arrested Saw Pa Ku from Ler-po village, Bi-lin Township. They demanded a fire arm and a radio transceiver set from him. As he did not have a radio set, the troops beat him up, covered his head with a plastic bag, poured water on him and took him to Lay-kay village. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 26 April 2003, Company Commander Aung Lwin of SPDC LIB 9 forced women from Ma-eu-sa village, Tha-ton Township, to clear the road of Ye-pauk Pagoda. Moreover, he forced these women to lie face down on the ground and treaded on their backs with army boots, pulled their hair and slapped them each 3 times on their cheeks. The following are the names of the women who were forced to work and tortured:

 

(1) Naw Na Saw, age 45, daughter of Saw Aye Pe;

(1)   Naw Ma Khin, age 42, daughter of Saw Mi Chaw;

(2)   Naw Ku, age 66, daughter of Saw Pa Ya;

(3)   Naw Wah, age 14, daughter of Saw Nge Hla;

(4)   Naw Ta Moo, age 12, daughter of Saw Maung Law;

(5)   Naw Ma Hla Aye, age 25, daughter of Saw Pa Bee; and

(7) Naw Ma Hla Tin, age 30, daughter of Saw Htin Htin.

(Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 9 May 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 108, led by Column 1 Commander Thein Zaw, came to Htee-si-baw village, Bi-lin Township, arrested Maung Kyaw Mya, (male, age 30) and Naw Kha Yi (female, age 27), and forced them to reveal the KNU base. As they did not know where the KNU base was, the troops tied them up tightly with ropes and tortured them. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 30 June 2003, combined troops from SPDC IB 1 and DKBA, led by Thaw Ma Na, came to Noe-aw-lar village, Pa-an Township and arrested villager Saw Pee Pi. The troops accused him of being a KNU member and brutally tortured him. Later, Saw Pee Pi ran away. Due to his actions, the troops extorted 450,000 kyat and a cow from his mother. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 6 July 2003, Bo Aung Soe of SPDC LIB 108 demanded 1 basket of rice and 7 chickens from the villagers of Ler-soe village, Bi-lin Township. Moreover, he brutally beat a Ler-soe villager named Saw Thein Soe (male, age 19), 7 times with a stick and demanded 7 chickens from him. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 9 September 2003, DKBA troops led by Pa Ker Ler came to Ler-po village, Bi-lin Township, and brutally beat up a villager. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 9 September 2003, troops from SPDC IB 598 based at Waw-mee camp and led by Battalion Commander Thein Zaw combined with an SPDC short pants unit came to Pa-da-daw village in Bi-lin Township. The troops arrested and tortured the village head, Khin Than Kyi, and took her to the Waw-mee army camp. The troops also arrested villager, Aung Min Soe (age 18), son of Nga Pa. The troops accused him of being a member of an armed resistance group and brutally tortured him. The troops then ordered the villagers to pay a 100,000 kyat ransom for him. In addition, the troops looted the following items from the following female villagers; household materials from Ma Mya, 4 chickens worth 5,000 kyat from Naw Par Lar, and 1 pig worth 25,000 kyat from Naw Mu Aye. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 23 September 2003, about 34 DKBA troops led by Saw Tin Win came to the Paw-ta-plaw area in Bi-lin Township where they arrested a Ta-eu-khee villager named Saw Ka Lah, brutally squeezed his throat and sent him back to Ta-eu-khee village. That night, the troops arrested Saw Kyaw Pay and Saw Tin Aye of Ta-eu-khee village at their houses and took the 2 villagers away with them. When they arrived at Ta-thoo-hta, on 24 September 2003, the troops tortured them and ordered them to reveal the whereabouts of the KNU. As these 2 villagers did not know, they had to endure further torture. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

Other Districts

 

On 8 February 2003 at 5:00 pm, 2 local farmers, Nai R- (about age 21) and Nai M- (about age 26) returned from sending the paddy to Sonenatha village from their native village of Thingagyun village. On the way, a commander from Burmese Army LIB No.586, Captain Thaung Htite who was drunk ordered them to stop their bullock carts, arrested, and detained them in the battalion detention cell for 24 hours without reason. While being detained, the captain beat the 2 farmers for a few hours. The commander accused the farmers of being on the road at night, which is forbidden by the local battalions. When the families of the 2 farmers arrived, they found the 2 farmers tied by ropes. They asked Captain Thaung Htite why the 2 had been arrested. The captain replied that they were using the road at the wrong time and asked 10,000 kyat and 3 viss of chicken for their release. (Source: "A drunk Burmese military Captain tortured 2 local farmers," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No. 7/2003, 31 July 2003)

 

On 4 March 2003, 78-year-old Nai La was arrested, detained, and beaten for failing to meet the paddy quota. Nai La and his wife have farmed 14 acres in Kyeikmayaw Township for over 38 years and have always been able to give the required amount of paddy to the State. This year's quota was 168 baskets. Flood damage had destroyed his crop and he was only able to procure 20 baskets. The headman, Nai Nyan Kyit, and local militia rejected his claim and fined him 560,000 kyat for not meeting the quota, which he set out to collect. On 4 March, the local militia arrested and detained him at Tarana Police Station in Kyeikmayaw Township. He was held there for 3 nights and then transferred to Nyaung-pin-seik Police Station on 7 March, where he was handcuffed, beaten and kicked inside his cell by a drunken Deputy Sub-inspector Maung Toe (#La-120798) until he lost consciousness. On 8 March, Nai La was sent to Kyeikmayaw Hospital in critical condition. (Source: "Serious abuse to an old farmer by a drunk local police member," The Mon Forum, HURFOM, Issue No 7/2003, 31 July 2003)

 

On 18 March 2003, Nai La was discharged from the hospital. It was reported that at the end of the month, he was still suffering from the wounds he received from beaten and kicked so severely. (Source: "Farmer Tortured in Mon State," DVB, 28 March 2003)

 

On 17 March 2003, 2 Mon nationals, Naing Po Peik and Naing Niti, were arrested, tortured, and beaten for the whole night by soldiers from LIB 258 led by Colonel Nyo Maing and Captain Minn Naung. The 2 were accused of having contact with Naing Pann Nyun, the leader of the armed Mon splinter group. As a result, they were beaten with rifle butts. The 2 were from Kalokani refugee camp and according to the Chairman of the camp, the 2 villagers did not know anything about the accusations. (Source: "Refugees Tortured by SPDC," DVB, 21 March 2003)

 

On 2 April 2003, the Democratic Voice of Burma reported that Ma Moe Moe Aye, a first year law student, was beaten unconscious by police as a result of dispute over a fine. Ma Moe Moe Aye had been riding her motorbike without a helmet when she was stopped by the police. She was fined 20,000 kyat while the normal fine was only 10,000 kyat. An argument evolved and the police beat her until she lost consciousness. She was taken to Moulmein Hospital. (Source: “Troubles in Moulmein," DVB, 2 April 2003)

 

On 2 May 2003, Yong Deen village was caught in the middle of a clash between a Mon armed group led by Nai Hloin and SPDC IB 31 in southern Ye Township, Mon State. As a result of the heavy gun and mortar fire, a 50-year-old woman named Ma Kyi was wounded and sent to Ye Hospital once the fighting had ceased. Her fate was not known at the time of this report. (Source: “Villagers Caught in the Middle of Battle," KAO WAO News, No. 43, 23 April – 13 May 2003)

 

On 27 December 2003, 2 Mon Buddhist monks and 40 villagers were arrested, interrogated, and tortured by means of exposing them in the burning sun for days for allegedly supporting a Mon rebel group led by Naing Luan. It was reported that the monks and villagers were all from Ye Township, which is an area that is blacklisted by the SPDC and curfews are imposed. (Source: "Human Rights Abuses on Mon People in Burma," DVB, 31 December 2003)

 

Pegu Division

 

Note: Both Nyaunglebin District and Taungoo District are areas demarcated by the KNU as Karen territory. Taungoo falls partially in SPDC demarcated Pegu Division and partially in SPDC demarcated Karen State. Taungoo is under the patrol of the 2nd Brigade of the KNLA. Nyaunglebin falls in SPDC demarcated Pegu Division and is under the patrol of the 3rd Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize Nyaunglebin or Taungoo as official districts.

 

Nyaunglebin District

 

On 19 January 2003, combined troops of SPDC LIB 599 and DKBA came to Maw-pu village in Mon Township and randomly shot at the villagers. As a result, a villager named Naw Roe Anna (female, age 31) was wounded. The troops torched 43 houses and a paddy barn containing 60 baskets of paddy, in addition to looting other items from Maw-pu village. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 18 April 2003, SPDC troops came to Maw-ko area, Mon Township, and shot at villagers nearby without reason. They burned down a farm hut at Thay-hkay-lu and looted a tin of rice, 2 pots, and 3 bottles of honey from Saya Klo Koo Wah. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 17 June 2003, at 9:00 p.m., the SPDC troops shot at Noe-klaw village of Mon Township wounding villager Saw Moo Tha and causing Naw Lwe Moo to become lost. Moreover, the troops looted 8 rechargeable batteries from the villagers. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 21 June 2003, a group of 50 soldiers from SPDC LIB 590 led by officer Kyaw Zay Ya Win found villagers outside of the village in Mon Township and shot at them. In doing so, a woman villager was wounded on her side and 1 of her fingers was cut off. The troops also took 900 kyat and 1 umbrella from Ko Thain Htun and extorted 100,000 kyat from Myoung Oo village. (Source: KORD, 2003)

 

On 16 July 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 590 arrested Mee-daing-daw villagers, Sai Pu, Ko Win Aung, Po Saing and Po Kyoi, accusing them of being involved in a bomb blast at Pya-teh. The troops tortured them until they were unconscious. They villagers were released them on 27 July 2003 after they were found to be innocent. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 5 August 2003, troops from SPDC LIB 599 led by Bo Kyi Win shot at Hkeh-po-doe villagers, without reason. As a result, Saw San Pyoke (age 14), son of Saw Thu Heh was wounded. The troops also cut and destroyed Saw Ee Lay’s betel nut plantation and Saw Ler Kaw’s hill paddy farm, sown with 8 baskets of seeds. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

Taungoo District

 

On 19 March 2003, troops from Company 4, SPDC IB 75, led by Bo Sein Than brutally beat up Saw Tha Doe (age 23), son of Saw Maung Po. Saw Tha Doe is from Kaw-thay-doe village in Tan-ta-bin Township. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 20 March 2003, SPDC IB 264 led by Commander Tha Sein forced 20 villagers from Klaw Mee Der in Tatabin Township to carry food to Toe Bo Camp. On the same day, these troops tortured Klaw Mee Der Village Headmen Saw Tha Win and Saw Kyaw Per without reason. (Source: KORD, 2003)

 

On 23 March 2003, Bo Thant Zin of SPDC IB 264 forced 20 villagers from Klaw-mee-doe to carry military supplies. He tortured the Village Head, Saw Than Win, and a villager named Saw Kyaw Per without reason. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 27 March 2003, troops from SPDC IB 73 led by Battalion Commander Tin Ko Oo brutally tortured the Peh-kaw-doe village head without reason. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 22 June 2003, Corporal Pauk Pauk of SPDC IB 39, punched villagers Saw Po Si, Saw Ham Kray, Saw Htun Khaing, Saw Htun Lin and Saw Nay Moo of Baw-ga-li village, Than-daung Township without reason. He also looted 100,000 kyat and blankets from the house of Saw Htun Khaing. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

On 2 July 2003, SPDC troops led by Bo Let Win Soe based at Day-lor camp, Than-daung Township, shot and wounded a Ler-gi-kho villager named Saw Heh Ber (age 23), while he was climbing a tree to harvest dog fruits in the forest. (Source: KIC, 2003)

 

Shan State

 

Arrest, detention, and torture, land and property confiscation in Kun-Hing

 

On 10 January 2003, troops from SPDC IB 246 arrested 15 villagers from Ka Li, including the headman, Lung Kaang Nyo (age 51). The troops arrested the villagers following a skirmish with an unknown armed group in Ka Li village, Ka Li village tract, Kun-Hing Township during which 1 SPDC soldier was killed. The troops suspected the unknown armed group to be Shan and therefore arrested the villagers.

 

The 15 villagers were detained in a jail at a military camp and interrogated for 6 days and 5 nights, during which time they were beaten and tortured. Finally, money was extorted for their release. The Ka Li village headman had to pay 100,000 kyat and the 14 others had to pay 50,000 kyat each for their release.

 

Lung Kaang Nyo, the Ka Li village headman, was so severely beaten during his detention that his eyes were still black and painful until several weeks after his release. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2003)

 

Land seized, village headman beaten, by member of Wa ceasefire group in Murng-Ton

 

On 27 February 2003, a Corporal from UWSA, Ai Sa (age 24), was fencing a house compound he had forcibly and cheaply bought in Naa Kawng Mu village in Murng Haang village tract, Murng-Ton Township. In fencing his compound, Ai Sa forcibly built his fence about 4-5 yards into the compound of a neighbor house, after destroying the original fence.  When the owner of the neighboring house, Lung Mu-Lin (male, age 54), tried to tell Ai Sa that he was encroaching on his land which he had inherited from his ancestors. When Lung Mu-Lin pointed at the demarcation line where the original fence had stood, Ai Sa simply said, “So what? I did that because I want the land”.

 

On 1 March 2003, unable to persuade Ai Sa to move his fence back, Lung Mu-Lin lodged a complaint with the village tract headman of Murng Haang village tract, Pu Haeng La Mawng. When the headman inspected the place and found Ai Sa having done wrong, he told him thus. Ai Sa, however, did not see the case as the headman did, but became angry and shouted at the headman, “Is it your land? What do you have to do with it," and beat him on the head with his pistol butt. Ai Sa continued to beat and kick the headman until he was soaked with blood all over and lost consciousness for about 40 minutes. Ai Sa then locked the headman up for 1 night and 1 day.

 

On his release, the headman reported the incident to the SPDC authorities who summoned the head of UWSA in the area, Paw Thao Saam, and asked him about it. Later, Paw Thao Saam simply ordered Ai Sa to move to a neighboring village, Huay Aw, and the case was closed. The SPDC authorities did nothing for the headman in terms of demanding compensation or punishing the culprit. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2003)

 

Beating and torture for failing to provide chickens in Kaeng-Tung

 

On 3 March 2003, 4 civilian truck drivers were beaten and forced to stand in the sun for 2 hours by SPDC troops from LIB 314 for failing to provide chickens demanded by the troops at the checkpoint at Nam Ping river bridge in Kaeng-Tung Township. The checkpoint was situated between Kaeng-Tung town area and Special Region No.4, a ceasefire territory headquartered in Murng Laa, a trading town on the border with China. Each day, about 40-50 trucks passed the checkpoint, mostly transporting Chinese goods from the border to Kaeng-Tung town.  Each truck was obliged to pay a 2,000 kyat duty at the checkpoint to get a pass. However, the SPDC troops manning the checkpoint had made it a point that each truck must also provide 1 chicken apart from the 2,000 kyat duty. Those who forgot to bring the demanded chickens faced a lot of trouble at the checkpoint.

 

On the day of the incident, 2 trucks, each with 2 drivers, carrying Chinese goods from the border had forgotten to bring the chickens with them and got into trouble with the SPDC troops at the checkpoint. Even after the drivers had paid the tax money and apologized for forgetting to bring the chickens and promised to bring twice as many next time, the troops refused to let them go and kept demanding they get the chickens immediately. When 1 of the drivers lost his patience and uttered, “Oh! That’s too much,” the soldier in charge, Sgt. Tin Naing, became angry and scolded, beat, kicked and slapped each of them 2-3 times. Sgt. Tin Naing then ordered them to stand in the sun for 2 hours, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

 

When they were finally let go, the drivers were warned not to forget to bring the chickens next time or else they would be jailed under the ground, and the Sergeant actually pointed to a hole in the ground nearby for them to see. The 4 drivers were: Ka-Lin (age 41), Zing Nyunt (age 36), Zaai Phat (age 19) and Zaai Ting (age 20).  (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, May 2003)

 

A displaced villager tortured and left to die in Lai-Kha

 

On 24 April 2003, Zaai Za-Lin-Da rode a bicycle from Lai-Kha town relocation site to see his herd of cattle which he had let graze in the area of his former village, Kung Sa. Since then Zaai Za-Lin-Da had not returned and his relatives could not find him anywhere. Some people in the relocation site had heard a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 64 talking about having seized a bicycle from a rebel and having cut the sinews in the back of his knees, and tied him to a tree in the forest. The troops had returned on the day Zaai Za-Lin-Da disappeared. 

 

About 15 days later, a man from another quarter of the relocation site said he heard faint voices like a man shouting when he went to look for his cattle near Kung Sa village. But, he did not go and see who was shouting. With the help of that man, Zaai Za-Lin-Da’s relatives went to search the area near the old village. They found Zaai Za-Lin-Da’s body tied up to a tree in the forest east of Kung Sa village, partly burned by wild fire but still recognizable by his also partly burnt clothes. Zaai Za-Lin-Da (male, age 31), was originally from Kung Sa village, which had been forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Lai-Kha town in 1997 by SLORC troops. (Source: “A Displaced Villager Tortured and left to die in Lai-Kha," SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, January 2004)

 

An Akha villager beaten, his chicken stolen, in Murng-Phyak

 

On 13 April 2003, an Akha villager from Nam Pan village in Nam Naang village tract, Murng-Phyak Township, was severely beaten up and his chicken and a musket were stolen by a patrol of 5 SPDC troops from IB 221 on the way not far from his village. Aa Hur (male, age 30), was returning home from hunting, carrying a musket and a wild chicken that he had shot on his shoulder, when he ran into the SPDC troops. The troops stopped him and wrested the musket and the chicken away from him. Without uttering a word, 1 of the troops kicked him harshly in the hip and he fell to the ground. As Aa Hur was lying on the ground, the other troops joined in and kicked him in the body 4-5 more times. When he was lying in pain and looking at the troops, not knowing what he had done wrong, the troops said to Aa Hur, “You kept this musket without permission, and you are not allowed to kill any wild animals. We are taking away your chicken and musket, and you must not tell anyone about this,” and left.

 

In addition to the bruises and sprains in his body, Aa Hur suffered from a severe sprain in his left thigh and could not walk. In the evening, he was helped back to his village by some fellow villagers who were returning from their farms. He had to be treated for 3-4 days before he could walk again. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, June 2003)

 

Beating, torture, hostage-taking and extortion in Tachileik

 

On 16 April 2003, 4 potato farmers were beaten, tortured, kept hostage, and money was extorted from them by SPDC troops from LIB 316 at their farm in Nam Kherm village tract, Tachileik Township. The 4 farmers, Lung Pan (male, age 46), Zaai In Kham (male, age 34), Zaai Laa (male, age 34) and Zaai Non (male, age 32), were all from Nam Wan village in Nam Kherm village tract, Tachileik Township.

 

On that day, at about 2:00 pm, the farmers were resting in a hut after doing some weeding at their jointly owned potato farm when a patrol of 7 SPDC troops from Ta-Lur-based LIB 316 came and told them to pay a ‘tax’ of either 5,000 Thai baht or 100,000 Burmese kyat. When the farmers refused, the SPDC troops ordered them at gun point to stand in a line and slapped them 5-6 times each, and ordered them to squat down and stand up 100 times. Lung Pan collapsed from exhaustion and passed out before he could complete the squats 100 times. The troops then threatened the farmers that they would lock them up at the military base until their relatives came and paid the tax or, if they did not want to be jailed, they could pay 1,000 baht each immediately. After some begging and bargaining, the SPDC troops agreed to accept 600 baht from each farmer. But because they did not have the money, 1 of the farmers, Zaai Laa, had to go back to their village and borrow the money from their relatives to pay the troops, while the other 3 were kept hostage. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, July 2003)

 

Stealing and torture causing death in Kun-Hing

 

On 10 July 2003, Pi Ong Awn (male, age 40) and Zaai Saw-Lin (male, age 34), villagers of Ho Ha village in Naa Poi village tract, were going to Ka Li village to buy some goods when they ran into a patrol of about 45 SPDC troops from LIB 524 near a deserted village, Nam Kham (relocated), in the same village tract. The SPDC troops arrested the 2 villagers, tied them up and interrogated them about Shan soldiers’ movements in the area. When the troops searched them and found 140,000 kyat of money on 1 of the villagers, Pi Ong Awn, they untied his rope and told him to run away into the nearby valley full of thick undergrowth.

 

The other villager, Zaai Saw-Lin, who did not have any money and did not know anything about the Shan soldiers, was beaten and tortured by the SPDC troops. They beat him all over his body and his head and when he fell down they jumped on his stomach and trampled on him. The troops tortured him for 3 more days before they released him and took him with them when they moved. Although Zaai Saw-Lin managed to get back home, he did not recover from what he had suffered during his torture and died 2 months later from internal injuries. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, September 2003)

 

Beating, extortion and torture in Murng-Nai

 

On 12 July 2003, Zaai Ku (male, age 24), who had just come back from Thailand, where he had gone to work for 11 months, was accused of being a Shan soldier by the SPDC troops stationed at Kun Mong village, led by Sgt. Soe Naing. He was arrested at his parents’ house. Zaai Ku was interrogated, beaten and tortured for some time. Only after the community leader of Kun Mong village tract guaranteed that he was really a villager of Kun Mong did the SPDC troops stop torturing him. However, 27,000 kyat was still extorted from Zaai Ku’s parents for his release. Zaai Ku was so severely beaten on his face and body that it took several weeks for him to be able to go about normally again. (Source: SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, November 2003)

 

Two Palaung men tortured by SPDC troops in Kutkai Township

 

On 15 July 2003, at 6:00 am, 2 Palaung men from Nong Long village, Kutkai Township were stopped by SPDC troops while they were on the way home from shopping. The troops searched their belongings and found many food items and other materials. The troops accused the boys of running away from joining the army or joining the underground movement. Their hands were tied up and they were tortured by the troops. One of the men (age 32), managed to escape but he was shot and injured. Fortunately, he was rescued by villagers nearby. (Source: Palaung Youth Newsletter, PYNG, Issue #3, August 2003)

 

Pregnant wife tortured, causing miscarriage and severe mental disturbance in Nam-Zarng

 

On 26 August 2003, a column of the same SPDC troops, led by Commander Tin Myint, came to Paang Sa village and asked for the wife of the man they had shot dead 3 days ago. They arrested Naang Non, wife of Saang Zi-Na. The SPDC troops took Naang Non to a Nam Taeng river harbour, called Ta Zao Murng (guardian spirit harbour), together with another woman, Naang Zaam, who they met on the way.

 

At Ta Zao Murng, the SPDC troops ordered Naang Non and Naang Zaam to show them the boats which they said were used by people in the area. When the women said there was no boat in the area, 1 of the troops pulled out a piece of split-bamboo from the nearby bamboo fence enclosing the altar of the guardian spirit and beat them until the stick broke. Naang Non was the one who had to bear most of the beating.

 

After a while, the SPDC troops’ commander ordered his troops and civilian porters to search the river banks for the boats. At the same time, 2 graves were ordered to be dug in front of the 2 women, saying that if any boat was found in the area they would be executed and buried in those graves.

 

Even though the search continued until evening, there was no boat to be found and finally the 2 women had to be released. Naang Non suffered from internal injuries from the beating and miscarried her 3-month-old pregnancy 5 days later, and was so mentally disturbed that her relatives thought she had completely gone mad. (Source: “Husband Shot Dead, Pregnant Wife Tortured, Causing Miscarriage and Severe Mental Disturbance in Nam-Zarng," SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, December 2003)

 

Motorcycle driver beaten, his motorcycle stolen, in Tachileik

 

In August 2003, Zaai Kawn, a 28-year-old motorcycle taxi driver, was returning from transporting a passenger to Sali Ngawk village in Murng Ko village tract when he was stopped by 4 SPDC troops from LIB 331. At the time, the troops were guarding a bridge at Nam Tun stream, situated between Sali Ngawk and Wan Pong villages. As Zaai Kawn stopped his motorcycle, the SPDC soldiers surrounded him and, without saying anything, beat him until he lost consciousness and stole his motorcycle.

 

Zaai Kawn was found some time later by some villagers from Wan Pong village who went to catch fish along the Nam Tun stream. He was treated until he regained consciousness. The villagers also helped him return to his village in Murng Phong village tract. He was seriously wounded in the head and had to be treated at the Tachileik Township hospital.  Zaai Kawn and the community leaders later tried to lodge a complaint with the SPDC Township authorities. But the authorities said they could do nothing because there was no witness to verify the incident or to identify the culprits.

 

Zaai Kawn (male), formerly lived in Murng-Yawng Township, but moved to Murng Phong village tract in Tachileik Township 2 years ago and since then had been running a motorcycle taxi to make a living in Tachileik Township. (Source: “Motorcycle Driver Beaten, His Motorcycle Stolen, in Ta-Khi-Laek," SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2004)

 

A villager beaten, his teeth broken, in Kun-Hing

 

In late 2003, Su-Nan-Da (male, age 30), of Wan Lao village was stopped by a patrol of SPDC troops from IB 246 when he was north of his village. The SPDC troops grabbed Su-Nan-Da by the arms and asked him if there were Shan soldiers in the area. Every time Su-Nan-Da replied he did not know, the SPDC troops accused him of lying and slapped him several times on the face and mouth. The troops repeated their questions and slapped Su-Nan-Da many times until 2 of his teeth were broken and his mouth filled with blood, before they let him go. (Source: “A Villager Beaten, His Teeth Broken, in Kun-Hing," SHRF Monthly Report, SHRF, February 2004)

 

Tenasserim Division

 

Note: Mergui-Tavoy District is an area demarcated by the KNU as part of Karen territory. Mergui-Tavoy falls into SPDC demarcated Tenasserim Division and is under the patrol of the 4th Brigade of the KNLA. The SPDC does not recognize Mergui-Tavoy as an official district.

 

On 6 January 2003, a group of Pyithusit (people militia backed by the Burmese army) from the Burmese village, Kyauk Taung, led by Ah Ngwe came to Karen village Eh Eh to the south of Theyetchaung Township, Tavoy district. They arrested a villager (Saw Kxxx) and accused him of collaborating with Karen soldiers. They took him, tortured him, and asked for a ransom for his release. Four villages collected and gave the money to the Pyithusit and Burmese troop's officers, after which he was released. The Burmese troops and Pyithusit officers warned the villagers that if someone told the Karen soldiers about the amount of the money they gave, they would face extra punishment. The person who reported this incident would not reveal the amount of money paid as ransom out of fear of the troops.

 

It is not known why the Burmese troops wanted to conceal the amount of money. One reason may be the corruption among the officers or concern about the case being reported. This is the first time that it has been reported that the Burmese troops threatened the villagers not to tell the amount of money they asked from the villagers.  According to a local villager in that area, the Pyithusit were ordered to do this by Khin Maung Aye, who is the Commander of Infantry Battalion 280 and responsible for that area.  (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy Information Department, KNU, January 2003)

 

On 3 April 2003 a villager from Manorone forced relocation site in Tenasserim Township, Mergui district was arrested and tortured by Burmese troop. Saw Kah Hko lost his way when he went to the jungle to collect rattan. He accidentally went to Shan Inn Taw, an area close to a Burmese troop base. He was arrested and was sent to No.19 Intelligence Unit in Tenasserim town. According to a local source, he was interrogated and tortured badly. Luckily, he knew 1 of the Burmese battalion commanders so he was sent back to No.3 Strategic Command HQ. Later he was released after paying 30,000 kyat. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy Information Department, KNU, April 2003)

 

On 20 April 2003, Sergeant Major Win Myint from IB 25, stationed at Paw Taw village on Paw Klo area in the east of Tavoy called on Haw Ter Hta, the village Peace and Development Council Chairman Saw Ser Hkwa, and Secretary Saw Hpo Lu Aye and hit them and beat them seriously. After this torture, he asked for each man to pay a 200,000 kyat fine. He accused the 2 village leaders of having contact with the KNU. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy Information Department, KNU, April 2003)

 

On 22 April 2003 a troop from Burma army IB 17 led by Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Thein Soe entered the Tagu village area in Taninthayi Township in Tenasserim Division, the southern most division of Burma. The soldiers captured 60-year-old Oo Saw Aye at his hut in the paddy field and searched his hut. The soldiers found 50,000 kyat, 500 Thai baht, and a letter written by a person named "Hnalone" who let Oo Saw Aye buy things for him. When the soldiers asked Oo Saw Aye about Hnalone, he was unable to explain thoroughly, so that he was beaten seriously by the soldiers. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy Information Department, KNU, April 2003)

 

On 29 June 2003, an army deserter Private Kyaw Moe who was recaptured by his battalion IB 103 troopers, was tortured inside army confinement and died by the injuries he was tortured. He had deserted on midnight of 25 June 2003 while he was on sentry duty took away one MA-1 assault rifle plus 120 ammunitions. (Source: Monthly Human Rights Situation Report; Tenasserim Division, Mergui-Tavoy Information Department, KNU, July 2003)

 

On the night of 25 July 2003, approximately 20 troops from LIB 433 led by Captain San Myint Oo went into Kwe-tha-lin village, Yebyu Township and looted 700,000 kyat worth of the civilians’ belongings. The Commander ordered the village headmen to gather all the villagers in the village grounds and forced them to stand in the hot sun for hours while his soldiers looted their houses. (Source: HURFOM, “The Plight of Civilians in Tenasserim Division Due to Armed Conflict and Militarization in the Area," The Mon Forum, Issue No. 9/2003, 30 September 2003)

 

4.7 Interviews

 

Interview  #1

 

Name:                          Pah Kyaw Aye (not real name)

Age:                             42 years

Religion:                       Buddhist

Village:                         AAA village, Pa’an District, Karen State

Occupation:                  Hill farmer

Number of family:         4 persons

 

Q: Can you tell us your suffering of arrest and torture by BA and DKBA troops?

A: On 5 June 2003, two soldiers under Kyaw Pah Ki from the DKBA deserted.  In this case Kyaw Pah Ki accused me that I sent them to the KNLA's troops. On 8 June 2003, he came to arrest me at my home in AAA village and sent me to Myein Gyi Hgu (DKBA headquarter) and locked my legs in the wooden-block. The next morning they tied me standing up to the tree for the whole day without food and drink. In the evening they again tied me upside down and interrogated me about the two deserters. I told them I didn't know anything. Later they accused my boat driver, Maung Tun Kyen, of sending these two deserters to the KNLA's troops. After that they demanded 1,500,000 kyat from me. Before the money was given, they forced me to send an elephant instead, including two mahouts. They told me they would release the elephant and two mahouts when the money arrived. On 17 June 2003, I sent them money and then they gave the elephant back and released the two mahouts.

 

Q: Would you please tell us what base's troops made these demands?

A: It was a troop from DKBA 555 led by Deputy Battalion Commander Saw Pah Ler. He said that the two guns taken by deserters belonged to the BA troop from LIB 338, that is why they had to pay the costs back. But we knew that in order to get money they created various forms and reasons. The villages from which money was demanded were Kler Kho, Htee Pa kyu Kee, Htee Ler Doh, Kler Day, Thay Blay La Hta, Bla Hta, Hta Kren Kee from Kler Day village tract and Kler Kah, Htee Baw Day, Mae Kret, Mae Ta Pu Kee from Kwee Law Plaw village tract.

 

(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)

 

Interview  #2

 

Name:              Saw Koe Si (not real name)

Age:                 26 years

Religion:           Buddhist

Village:             BBB village, Pa’an District, Karen State

Occupation:      field farmer

 

Q: Can you tell us about the entering and torturing of BA's troops in your village as well as their base and commanders' name?

A: On 15 June 2003, the BA's troop from LIB 703, Column 2 led by Major Shwe Win and Company Commander Tun Tun Win misfired with another BA troop from LIB 703, Column 1 led by Major Tun Tun Naw. After fighting they came direct into village and told they were fighting with KNLA troops. In village they tied up some villagers, then beat and tortured them severely by accusing them of having connections with resistance groups. They looted villagers' belongings and shot dead the domestic animals for meat without payment. They threatened that, they would burn down the village if any more clashes with KNLA took place later and also accused us of only supporting the KNU. The troops told the villagers that they came here to fight, not for worship. Nobody dared to speak out during the events. On the same day in the evening they accused me of having contact with KNU, then they kicked my pregnant wife two times. My wife fled to the hide-out because her belly was hurt.

 

The next day morning, the battalion commander, Tun Tun Naw, ordered someone to call me toward him. After that he asked me to send them to the Ta Rit Po Kwee and Kho Lu. I told him that I did not dare to go because landmines were planted there. After that the commander started to stab my head with a bayonet until it was hurt and bled.

 

On 16 June 2003, in the village, the troops looted 70 baskets of rice and then forced 32 villagers to carry supplies to the Klaw Ka Ti camp. On the way, officer Tun Tun Win told me not to express the event if I was questioned by the operation commander. When I arrived at the camp the operation commander questioned me about my wounded head and I told him that I was beaten by officer Tun Tun Win. After that he did not continue to interrogate me any more. I also added that the troops looted many of the villagers' belongings. But he did not believe me. Later he ordered his subordinates to check the soldiers' bags and found 3 golden rings, 2 pair of golden earring, 21,600 Thai baht and 8,000 Burmese kyat.

 

Q: To whom did the properties belong?

A: They belonged to Hta Toe Po, Naw Hser Bo, and Ma Tun May. The villagers' belongings looted at this time by BA's troops were altogether worth 460,000 kyat.

 

(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)

 

Interview #3

 

Name:              Saw Htoo Kler (not real name)

Religion:           Animist

Village:             BBB village, Pa’an District, Karen State

Occupation:      field farmer

 

Q: Can you tell us about the BA troop entering in your village?

A: After the BA troops misfired on other troops they directly came into the village and told the villagers not to flee. They threatened the villagers that if anyone tried to flee they would be shot on the spot. After that they called all villagers to rally on the road. When I arrived at the rally site they kicked my body three times.

 

Q: What did they force you to do after kicking?

A: They forced us to carry their supplies to Maw Po Kla camp and told us to release when we arrive there.

 

(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)

 

Interview #4

 

Name:              Pah Daw The (not real name)

Religion:           Animist

Village:             CCC village, Pa’an District, Karen State

Occupation:      Hill farmer

 

Q: Can you tell us your experience of being arrested and what you were forced to do by BA and DKBA?

A: On 14 June 2003, at 8:00 am, the BA officer Tun Tun Win and DKBA officer Pah Daw Bo came to my village and arrested me to send them to Maw Kwee Klo. Because I refused they finally beat my head 4 times with a gun. I got three wounds on my head and my watch was also broken.

 

Because I failed to send them to their destination they later asked me to send them back to DDD village. Finally, they demanded one chicken from me and released me.

 

(Source: Free Burma Rangers, 2003)


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