Narinjara news

76 Burmese Prisoners to go back home from Bangladesh

Dhaka, June 12:
Seventy-six Burmese prisoners detained in the prison in the north-eastern district of Sylhet in Bangladesh will go back home after five years’ imprisonment, sources said.

The long-awaited decision has been taken after diplomatic talks between the two countries. It is expected that, the prisoners will be sent back to Burma within this month through the Cox’sbazaar Teknaf border on Bangladesh side and Maungdaw on the Arakan State side of Burma.

At least 552 Burmese prisoners at the Bandarban jail in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh staged a hunger strike by the end of March this year, while in the first week of April they were moved elsewhere to other prisons in various parts of Bangladesh.

After a number of news articles were published in various media including the BBC, VOA, RFA, DVB and many of the local and international newspapers, the Burmese junta at last felt the pinch and were left with no other option than recognise their own citizens in the Bangladeshi jails.

Among the nearly one thousand Burmese presently languishing in the Bangladeshi prisons, many have already spent five/six years after the expiry of their jail terms. A source in the prison told our correspondent that, as soon as a Thai national in the prison is reported to the Thai Embassy officials, the respective official comes instantly calling to the prison, while even after many repeated reports from the prison authority, the Burmese Embassy in Dhaka do not pay any heed to the prison officials.

“Due to forced relocation conducted by the Burmese junta (self-styled SPDC) with its military, the permanent addresses of many of the prisoners have long been missing for which after repeated appeals from the Bangladesh side the Burmese junta have not been able to locate the exact addresses of their citizens in Bangladesh,” said a Burmese prisoner recently released here.

He also added that many of the Burmese police officials being reluctant to go to inquire about the hard to reach village addresses of the prisoners often give false reports to the Burmese authority. “The seventy-six Burmese prisoners who the Burmese junta recognise are only from the bigger cities while the fate of the nearly one thousand prisoners still lies in the balance,” he said.

The majority of the Burmese were arrested from Thai fishing trawlers illegally operating in the Bangladesh waters. Others include crew members of smuggling boats and people who infiltrated into Bangladesh for economic benefit. #