4. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
"That police can torture a farmer as punishment for a poor crop speaks to how utterly perverted ‘law enforcement’ becomes in the hands of an authoritarian government."
(Source: Asian Human Rights Commission, May, 2003.)
Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Burma has been used by the military government in Burma for more than 40 years and has been particularly documented since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising when the use of torture increased. Although articles 330 and 331 of the Burmese Penal Code (1957) prohibit torture and ill-treatment during interrogation it is personnel associated with the regime that are given the power to torture during interrogation with impunity.
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.
4.2 Torture during Detention
Political activists in opposition to the government often face torture while in detention. 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.
At least six departments of the SPDC’s security forces have been implicated in torture and ill treatment by former detainees, including political prisoners. 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, Secretary of the SPDC, is the head of the DDSI.
4.3 Torture in Prison
The MI personnel systematically interrogate detainees in order to get information and false confessions. The 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 wood 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. The MI personnel use both physical and psychological methods of torture. When the 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 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. The interim report to the Fifty-fifth Session of the General Assembly, the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma said: "Torture or other forms of inhuman treatment of political detainees are believed to be routine, especially during initial interrogation. Convicted prisoners are also reported to be subjected to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for breaches of prison regulations. " (Source: AAPPB, found at http://www.aappb.org/report3.html)
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.
Beating 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.
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.
4.4 Torture During Forced Portering and Forced Labor
Throughout 2002, 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.
4.5 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.
4.6 Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment – partial list of incidents 2002
On 18 January 2002, a seriously ill, elderly woman was arrested in Thantlang, Chin State after the Burmese army accused her of having had contact with her son who is a member of the Chin National Front (CNF). Taken into custody with the woman were three other local men who were present at the woman’s house when the Burmese army raided it. The incident took place when the Burmese army surrounded the woman’s house on information they had received that an active member of the Chin National Front was visiting his dying mother. The raid did not result in the arrest of the man they were looking for, instead they took all the people present at the house into custody.
The elderly woman was seriously ill and was dying but the army made no exception in arresting her. Mr. Bawi Hmung, Mr. Lal Nuai, and Mr. Ni Thang were arrested along with the woman. Due to the seriousness of her illness, the elderly woman was later allowed to be replaced by her daughter, Ms Sung Nawn who volunteered herself to be taken into custody in place of her mother. All of the arrested were later sent to the 266 Light Infantry Battalion army base in Haka, where they were detained and interrogated. They were charged under the Unlawful Association Act. (Source: CHRO)
On 13 January 2002, about 20 soldiers from DKBA Battalion No. 906 entered into a Mon village, Kanni in Kawkareik Township at night and robbed about 5 houses. They took some money and gold totaling about 1 million kyat from the houses. After the robbery, one of the DKBA soldiers sold some of the stolen gold in town to a relative of a Kanni villager who was robbed. A Mon woman, Mi Nyunt, claimed her gold was in a shop. DKBA soldiers heard about that and arrested her. They brought her to their base in Kyone-doe village, tortured her and ordered her not to speak out about the robbery. She was detained for one night. Before release, they also threatened that if she continued speaking about the robbery, she would be killed. (Source: HURFOM)
On 7 March 2002 Major Thet Naing, a commander of the column of LIB No. 206 of Brigade No.22 went to Htee Ta Pha Yu Tha village and Lae Ka Moo village in Hlaing Bawe Township and fired six times with a 60mm. mortar. He then proceeded to beat the following villagers; Po Thu Kaut (32 years old), Phar Kaut Thu (35 years old), Phar Moe Zae (42 years old) and Maung Tin Shwe (35 years old) with the butt of his MA 3 rifle. (Source: ABSDF)
On 21 June 2002 Column No.1, led by Major Win Naing, of Brigade No. 44 opened fire on two shacks of U Saw Kuku and Naw Pupu who were ordinary people and peacefully living on their traditional hill-side farm. Naw Pupu was seriously wounded in the arm and taken as a guide for this column. U Saw Kuku was severely beaten and taken away too. (Source: ABSDF)
On 12 February 2002, troops from SPDC LID 88 led by commander Ohn Myint, Column Commander Major Thet Tin and Company Commander Aung Moe Htet went to Lay-po village in Kya-in township and tortured the villagers:
(1) Maung Chu Lu;
(2) Kyaw Lin;
(3) Saw Ler Wah;
(4) Saw Htoo La;
(5) Ta Naw Si;
(6) Ta Naw No;
(7) Saw Htoo Hsa; and
(8) Saw Htee Bu.
The troops also looted from these villagers. (Source: KIC)
On 12 February 2002, a group of DKBA soldiers led by Nga Kywe, went into Tagundaing village and beat a Muslim farmer, U Ra Dhi (50 years) who stayed outside of the village. Because of the severe beating, he was sent to the hospital in town for treatment. This man was innocent and not a Muslim leader. Most of the members of the DKBA are Buddhists and hate Muslims. (Source: HURFOM)
On 27 February 2002, a group of DKBA soldiers led by Lt. Maung Hla Nge went into Port-gyi-gone village and arrested a Mon woman, Mi Kun Hale (60 years old) and tortured her. The DKBA soldiers arrested her accusing her son of being a trafficker of migrant workers into Thailand. They claimed that he had failed to send some Karen migrant workers, who were relatives of the DKBA soldiers. She did not know whether her son was a trafficker or not as he been gone from home for several months. The soldiers accused her son of taking money from Karen migrant workers but not taking them to the designated work places in Thailand. They claimed that he took their money but failed to complete his duty. Then the soldiers severely tortured her. The soldiers ordered her to give them 700,000 kyat for her release. After her relatives paid that amount, she was released. (Source: HURFOM)
On 7 March 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 103 column 1 led by column commander Tin Maung Win went to Htee-law-beh villge in Kya-inn Township and tortured villagers U Maung Lee, (M-40) and Naw Peh Koo, (F-46), without any reason. As a result of torture one of Naw Peh Koo’s ribs was broken. (Source: KIC)
In the middle of April 2002, during the Water Festival, three Karen guerrillas (KNLA) planned to visit their homes. On the way, SPDC soldiers from Division 88 arrested them. The three of them were severely tortured, forced to show their camps, hideouts and the homes and villages of their relatives and friends that they had passed through. Their ears were cut off, their faces and body had sores and holes made in them and their ankles were tied with ropes. As a result the three guerrillas showed their houses, villages and guerrilla hideouts. However they could not think clearly and their confessions were inaccurate so many innocent villagers were in trouble. (Source: FTUB)(See also IDP chapter)
On 23 April 2002 troops from SPDC LIB 301 column 1 and 2 came to Kaw-kher village in Kya-in Township and arrested, tied up with rope and tortured:
(1) Christian pastor Saw Heh Pay Htoo M, 44,
(2) U Tha Wa, M, 45 and
(3) Maung Kyi Hlaing 54. (Source: KIC)
On 24 April 2002, troops from SPDC IB 78, led by column 1 commander came to Htee-tha-blu village in Kya-in Township and severely tortured Christian pastor Si Pa Trer and threatened to kill two female villagers. (Source: KIC)
On 26 April 2002, troops from SPDC IB 77, led by battalion commander Myint Lwin extorted money from Mae Pra villagers in Kya-in Township and brutally tortured Mae Pra villagers, Saw Ka Done and U Tin Win. (Source: KIC)
On 30 April 2002, LIB No. 548 and Karen surrender group HPO went into Kun-tit-tar (a Karen village) and arrested two men who were suspected as rebels. During the interrogation, the soldiers beat their legs and hands until they were broken and useless. (Source: HURFOM)
On 8 May 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 301 column 1 led by Min Din burnt down some houses. At 2:00 PM, these troops shot at Htee-pa-nwe village head Maung Pan Aye (M, 46), wounding him in the thigh and then cut his thighs with a knife. (Source: KIC)
On 12 May 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 301 led by Column 1 commander Min Din and column second commander Than Oo looted from Kya-in Township, Kun-thit-ta villagers. These troops took Khun-thit-ta villagers namely,
(1) Saw kyaw Hla (M, 52),
(2) Mahn Tin Lay (M, 25),
(3) Saw Win Kyate (M, 45),
(4) Saw Mya Thein (M, 35),
(5) Hla Win Tin (M, 25),
(6) Saw Thaung Pyo (M, 25) and
(7) Pa Yo (M, 22)
to Pa-ya-ngote-toe and tortured them. (Source: KIC)
On 13 May 2002, in the evening SPDC LIB 301 troops led by column commander Min Din came to Khun-thit-ta village, Kya-in Township, and gathered the elderly people, women and children in the assembly hall of the village temple and starved them until 19 May. (Source: KIC)
On 14 May 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 103 Column 2 shelled Mae-ta-lah village with heavy weapons killing villager Ta Po Nyaw. These troops also brutally tortured Paw Law Eh villager Hseh Bya. (Source: KIC)
On 17 May 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 301, under LID 88, led by Column 1 commander, Min Din shelled with heavy weapons at a group of persons at a place between Doo-kwe village and Htee-khay village in Kya-in Township killing one villager. On that day these troops asked Htee-khay villager Saw Sunday whether he saw the Karen resistance groups. When he said that he did not see any, they beat him up until his left eye came out. They took him to the army camp. He was still not yet released at to the time this report was published. (Source: KIC)
On 30 May 2002, troops from SPDC IB 77 Column 1 under LID 88 led by the battalion commander went into Kyo-waing, Wah-ma and Ta-dah-oo villages in Kya-in Township.
These troops arrested and brutally tortured Kyo-waing villagers:
(1) Saw Kyaw Thu 17, son of Saw Pa Lu Tha,
(2) Saw Be Loo 17, son of Saw Hla Shwe,
(3) Saw Aye Shay 17, son of Saw Aung Htun Paw,
(4) Saw Paw Gay, 14, son of Saw Pa Shwe, and
(5) Saw Than Win, 25, son of Saw Kyaw Lwin (village secretary)
(1) Ko Nyein Maung 31, son of U Aye Mya,
(2) Ko Ba Hlaing 30, son of U Khweh and
(3) U Than Htun 42, son of U Tun Sein –
and Ta-dah-oo villagers:
(1) Saw Hla Shwe 40 and
(2) U Shwe Khin 38, son of U Kyaw Htoo. (Source: KIC)
On 28 June 2002, about 80 troops from SPDC LIB 546 led by battalion commander Kyaw Win came to Tari-ta-kaung village in Kya-in Township and brutally beat up villagers for no apparent reason. The victims were:
(1) U Kyaw Thaung (M, 62),
(2) U Htay Nyunt (M, 56),
(3) Zaw Htay (M, 38),
(4) Ba Win Sein (M, 36),
(5) Hsa Tu Gaw (M, 40),
(6) Ma Chit Hla (F, 47),
(7) Maung Khing Win (M, 38),
(8) U Kyaw Sein (M, 56) and
(9) U Ba Khet (M, 68). (Source: KIC)
On 28 June 2002, a column of SPDC LIB 34, came to Ma-u village in Win-yae Township and brutally beat up villagers. The victims were:
(1) Pah Wah (M, 40),
(2) Saw Pah Klo, (M, 42),
(3) Saw Pah Hser (M, 42) and
(4) Saw Li Baw (M, 40).
Moreover, these troops looted from Saw Li Baw a camera and 10,000 kyat. The troops also demanded 10 porters and one basket of rice from the villagers. (Source: KIC)
On 29 June 2002 at about 1:00 pm, about 30 troops from SPDC LIB 591 led by battalion second in command Myo Kyaw Zwa came to Pa-yaung-chaung-wa village in Win-yae Township and seized some villagers and used them as human shields. The troops beat up villager U Kya Na, aged 43, and looted a camera and a pair of shoes from him. (Source: KIC)
On 13 September 2002 at 7:00 PM, troops from Thu Mu Heh’s Karen Peace Unit led by Bo Tint Win, arrested Dar-lie villagers, in Kya-in Township, Saw Ler Taw, aged 36 and Saw Pah Eh, aged 29 who were respectively beaten six and two times. (Source: KIC)
On 6 October 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 415 under LID 88 led by Column 1 commander Nyunt Aye went to Baw-klo area, Kya-in Township, and beat up Saw Ah Paw, aged 16, without reason. After 2 days he was given 500 kyat and released. (Source: KIC)
On 14 October 2002, at 11:45 am, Bo Kyaw Htoo Win from SPDC No. 2 Tactical Command of Western Command headquarters hit Saw Min Naung, 34 of Anan-gwin village, Win-yae Township on the head for no apparent reason. He had to have 6 stitches for his wound. (Source: KIC)
On 5 February 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 38 led by company commander Hla Chit came to Htee-doh-ta village and looted 500,000 kyat from Saw Maw Klat. These troops also tortured villager Saw Win Naing. In addition, these troops shot at Htee-doh-ta village without any reason, using various kinds of weapons including heavy ones. As a result a child, Pah Tu Lu (M, 8), and Naw Peh (F, 65) were wounded. (Source: KIC)
On 3 March 2002, SPDC troops came to Wa-mee-lu village, looted from villagers and brutally tortured Pa Kyaw Thein. (Source: KIC)
On 5 June 2002, Win Naing, commander of SPDC LIB 308, came to Hte-theh-lay village and arrested for no apparent reason villager, Saw Aung Myaing and tortured him until his face bled. (Source: KIC)
On 5 July 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 1, under LID 44, led by battalion commander, Min Chit came to Wah-tho-kla village and arrested village head Saw Pah Ki, aged 50, without reason and brutally tortured him. (Source: KIC)
On 18 March 2002, troops from SPD LIB 206 under LID 22 led by column 2 commander Major Thet Naing and DKBA Lay Pyo with about 100 soldiers went to
(5) Pauk-baw-khee and
(6) Htee-tha-bluh-ta villages
of Laing-bwe Township and issued an order to burn down all the hill farms. They tortured Htee-tha-bluh-ta villager Saw Pah Reh (M, 20) by striking and kicking him without apparent reason. In addition, on 23 March, they looted one basket each of rice from Wah-mee-klah and Htee-moe-khee village. (Source: KIC)
On 23 June 2002, commander Pah Day of DKBA Myeing-gyi-ngu Special Battalion summoned Kler-kat village head Saw Kya Maung to come to their camp at 12:00 pm and accused him of not informing them of the movements of KNU. Saya Than Zaw Oo struck at his chin with the butt of a M 79 grenade launcher and hit him many times on his back and in the chest with a rifle butt. Commander Pah Day then ordered Kler-kat village and Htee-baw-khee village to relocate either to Klar-day or Mae-ta-poo village. He threatened to drive them out from their village himself if the villagers did not go. (Source: KIC)
On 12 September 2002, a combined column of troops from SPDC LIB 209 under Tactical Command 221 led by column 2 commander Captain Kyaw Than Oo and DKBA battalion 555 troops led by Daw Bo burnt down 26 houses of Mae-tha-moo-hta, 11 houses of Waw-taw village and 24 houses of Kyuy-pu-lu villages. Moreover they arrested and tortured Mae-tha-moo-hta village head Pah Yo Heh. (Source: KIC)
On 14 November 2002, Bo Tin Kyi from SPDC IB 2 arrested and tortured Saw Pah Ba Yaw, aged 40, and Saw Pah Maung, aged 20, of Lay-kaw-hti village, Dweh-lo Township. He accused them of signalling to Karen resistance troops by blowing on traditional Karen buffalo horns. (Source: KIC)
On 3 March 2002 at 04:00 hours, Maung Too from a SPDC anti-insurgent group went to Kho-po village, arrested and severely beat up villagers, Maung Soe and Pa Ngeh. (Source: KIC)
On 7 April 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 1 column 2 led by major Khin Maung Oo went to Pa-nwe-po-khee village and beat up and tortured Saw Than Aung Thein (44), son of Tee Hti Kwee and Saw Pah Htoo (24), son of Saw Aung Than. (Source: KIC)
On 8 April 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 1 led by Bo Naing Oo Lay came to west Htee-pa-doh-hta village and interrogated and tortured villager Pah Ta Kee. At 11:00 pm, the troops shot and killed him without reason. (Source: KIC)
On 27 April 2002, company commander Min Aung of SPDC IB 96 came to Hsaw-thoo-khee village in Kyaik-to Township and brutally beat up villagers, Saw Maung Htein, (M, 35) and Saw Saw Pu, (M, 37). (Source: KIC)
On 28 May 2002, troops from SPDC LIB1 led by Bo Mya Thaung came to Paw-khee area and extorted from villagers. They tied up Paw-khee villager Saw Khin Say without apparent reason, suspended him upside down and tortured him by cutting his throat with a knife until it bled. After that, they demanded 6 Paw-khee villagers as porters and proceeded to Ta-eu-khee village where they demanded 4 more porters. (Source: KIC)
On 21 June 2002, Battalion commander Soe Kyaw Oo and company commander Kyaw Naing of SPDC LIB 2 accused Ta-maw-taw village head Saw Kyaw Lah Moo, son of Saw Htun Ngwe, of hiding the resistance forces and buried his whole body underground up to his neck for one hour. (Source: KIC)
On 9 August 2002, Myint Soe, commander of SPDC IB 2, arrested without apparent reason and brutally tortured Ta-maw-daw villagers;
(1) Saw Tin Win (M, 20) son of Tee Bo Bo,
(2) Saw Hla Shwe (M, 35) son of Tee Htun Aye and
(3) Saw Than Oo (M, 33) son of Tee Tha Bi.
Moreover, they struck the head of village head Naw Nyunt (F) who spoke in defence of the villagers. (Source: KIC)
On 16 August 2002, Company commander Thet Oo Shwe of SPDC LIB 102 went to Ta-roi-khee village, tortured Saw Pah Keh and looted a pig and a chicken. (Source: KIC)
On 13 September 2002, Column 1 of SPDC LIB 2 led by battalion commander Aung Zaw Win arrested, tied up and brutally tortured Ta-eu-ni villagers Saw Tan Ye, aged 34, and Saw Tee Naw, aged 50, of Bi-lin Township. (Source: KIC)
On 2 November 2002, SPDC IB 8 column 2 troops led by Myint Naing came to Ler-ka-ter village and seized 3 villagers to be porters and took them to Pa-yaw-raw. Moreover they arrested and tortured without apparent reason the following villagers:
(1) Saw San Myint, 37,
(2) Pa Da Ya, 29,
(3) Pa Twe, 47, and
(4) Saw Shwe Kyaw, 39. (Source: KIC)
On 3 January 2002, as a firefight broke out at Ta-kaw-day in Kaw-thay-doe area Sergeant Win Naing of SPDC IB 39, based in Kaw-thay-doe village, accused Kaw-thay-doe village head Saw Ta Ku and villager Saw Ah U of being lax in their duties. He then beat them up violently, breaking some of their teeth. (Source: KIC)
On 1 February 2002, three SPDC Guerilla Unit troops had a quarrel with youths of Ba-na-pu village in Than-daung Township. On 2 February, the SPDC troops beat up Thraw-bu villagers who came to Than-daung Town, thinking that they were Ba-na-bu villagers. The beating seriously injured 20 Thraw-bu villagers. (Source: KIC)
On 22 April 2002, troops from SPDC guerrilla unit led by Yeh Kha demanded 3 Viss of chicken from Kaw-law-kah villagers. On that day, Maung Tin of SPDC IB 124 tortured Kaw-law-ka villagers whom they brought as porters namely:
(1) Saw Po Sheh
(2) Saw Kay Nay, son of Saw Baw Ku
(3) Saw Peh Gyi, son of Saw Po Dah
(4) Naw Eh Di Htoo, daughter of Maung Gaw Raw
(5) Naw Seet Blut, daughter of Saw Maung Kleh
(6) Naw Moo Sa, daughter of Saw Sha Moe Aye La
(7) Naw Thay Ku, daughter of Saw Tu Meh. (Source: KIC)
On 24 April 2002, troops from SPDC guerrilla unit led by Yeh Kah went to Kaw-law-ka village and demanded from villagers meat and beat up villagers Saw Pi Ti, (M, 20) and Saw Keh Leh (M, 18). (Source: KIC)
On 23 October 2002, troops from SPDC guerrilla unit led by Si Thu extorted 2 Viss of chicken from Kaw-law-ka village of Than-daung township. These troops came to Ku-thay-doe village, Tan-ta-bin township, and demanded chickens and as they were not given, they beat up two village elders Saw Kwa Lar and Saw La Tin. (Source: KIC)
On 1 January 2002, the second in command of SPDC LIB 350 demanded 10,000 kyat each from Toe-ta-tar, Ma-u-bin, Kaw-tha-say, Pa-det-kaw and Hin-tha-wang villages. In addition, these troops tortured Toe-ta-tar villagers Saw Kwa Toe and Saw Aung Kyi and demanded 10,000 kyat from them. (Source: KIC)
On 5 January 2002, a firefight broke out between KNLA and SPDC troops at Tha-yaw-baw-lu of Mon Township. One SPDC sergeant was wounded. For that, the SPDC troops arrested the Ma-la-daw village head and tortured him brutally. (Source: KIC)
On 31 August 2002, Sergeants Myint Kyaw and Myint Shwe of SPDC LIB 599 tortured by keeping under water for two hours and administering three beatings with a cudgel, villagers of Haw-hta-plaw of Mone Township, who were:
(1) Saw Ywa Mu Heh
(2) Saw Dah Weh
(3) Saw Di Wah
(4) Saw Na Klo
(5) Saw Maung Weh
(6) Saw Woh Kho
(7) Saw Aung Htoo
(8) Saw Aung Tun
(9) Saw Ler Nya
(10) Saw Ko Di
(11) Saw Hi
(12) Saw Po Ka Done
(13) Saw Ka Paw Htoo
(14) Saw Ah Htoo
(15) Saw Thitta
(16) Saw Yu Lah Htoo
(17) Saw Thi Htoo
(18) Saw Na Kya Htoo.
Moreover, these troops destroyed property in Haw-hta-plaw village. (See deprivation of livelihood chapter) (Source: KIC)
On 1 September 2002, Sergeants Myint Kyaw and Myint Shwe of SPDC LIB 599 brutally beat up villagers of Wah-doh-kla village, Mone Township, without apparent reason. The victims were:
(2) Saw Ret Shwe
(3) Saw Maung Dah
(4) Saw Keh Say.
Moreover, these troops cut down 12 coconut trees. (Source: KIC)
On 19 January 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 402 led by battalion commander Nay Myo Aung beat to death Khaw-paw villager Saw Kwa Ner (M, 34) in Ler-
Doh-soe township, without apparent reason. (Source: KIC)
On 3 March 2002, SPDC troops arrested and tortured May-ta villager, Ti Ta Nay Tha of Ler-doh-soe Township and demanded 100,000 kyat and a fire arm from him. (Source: KIC)
On 9 April 2002, SPDC LIB 409 troops accused Ger-gaw village head, Yu May, of having connections with a resistance group and tortured him. (Source: KIC)
On 6 April 2002 at 16:00 hours, troops from SPDC LIB 409, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thet Min seized and took Hein-dah-pyin village heads Par Ti Pa Lay and Par Po Lay, and Ler-ta-pu villager Pah Ti Dah Sit. The troops tortured and demanded 200,000 kyat from each of them. They were released on 21 April. (Source: KIC)
On 10 April 2002, troops from SPDC LIB 409 beat up Ler-pu villager Ko-kway, Pati Dah Sit and his 13 year old son Paw Lay. Moreover, they arrested and tortured village heads and demanded three fire arms from the villagers. (Source: KIC)
On 12 April 2002, Myint Thein, commander of SPDC LIB 409, tortured She-bu villagers Saw Tha Lay Kwe, Saw Lah Bwe and Saw Toe Pler. The troops accused them of hiding people from the resistance group and demanded three fire arms. (Source: KIC)
On 18 June 2002 a group of SPDC troops accused Pay-cha-maw villager Saw Tu That of belonging to a resistance group and tortured him. (Source: KIC)
On 28 January 2002, after an armed conflict between the Burmese Army and the Monland Restoration Army (MRA), the Burmese Army’s LIB No. 550 disrobed a Mon monk in Kyon-kwee village, Three Pagoda Pass township with the accusation that he was a rebel. When the 63 troops of LIB No. 550 were on patrol against the MRA and KNLA, they were attacked by MRA soldiers near Kyon-kwee village which is about 15 Kilometers far from Three Pagoda Pass town, a well know border point with Thailand.
After the attack, LIB No. 550 commander Lt. Col. Tin Maung Lwin was angered by the attack and arrested the monk, Nai Galae (about 45 years old). He received incorrect information from other villages that that monk was involved in the recent fighting against them when he was a layman. After the arrest and before the soldiers disrobed him, the soldiers tortured him for over one hour during their interrogation. The soldiers used various types of torture during the interrogation. They beat and put his head into a bowl of water for some minutes until he told them something. They also punched in his stomach and kicked him.
According to villagers who knew him, he was not involved in the recent fighting. But when a group of Mon soldiers from the MRA came into the village, they ordered him to buy some food supplies and liquor from other villages near Three Pagoda Pass. The ambush attack occurred near a village on the main road to Three Pagoda Pass and the Burmese Army believed that he was an informer to MRA and involved in the fighting. As he was afraid of being suspected of being a rebel, he became a monk with the help of the Kyon-kwee monastery. But he was unexpectedly arrested and disrobed by soldiers. After disrobing him, they arrested him.
Before this incident, the same battalion also arrested some village headmen in the area near Three Pagoda Pass town on suspicion of being rebel-supporters . The soldiers arrested the chairman of Kyaw-palu village, Nai Tun and villager Nai Tin Hlaing, with the accusation they were supporting MRA troops during their attack against the Burmese Army. The headmen said they planned to go Ye Town and were village headmen of The-khone, a nearby fishing village. The Burmese soldiers did not believe him and tied them up. They blindfolded them with clothes and brought them to Ye Town.They detained them in the battalion detention center and the soldiers tortured them to make them admit they were Mon soldiers or the supporters of Mon rebels. The soldiers beat them mostly on their faces and on other parts of their bodies.
When their families arrived at the detention center to explain that they were not rebel soldiers, they found both men were seriously beaten. Their faces and some body parts had injuries.The families of the men asked the commander for the release of the men. Maj. Tin Aung Khaing agreed and said if they could pay 500,000 kyat for each, they would release them. The men’s families returned to their homes and tried to collect 1 million kyat. After they collected the money, they paid the commander and he released the two men. They were brought to Ye town hospital for treatment for a few days. (Source: HURFOM)
On 17 July 2002, SPDC troops from LIB No. 343 led by Maj. Lin Oo tortured a 40 year old Mon farmer on his fruit plantation until he lost consciousness near Khawza village, Ye Township. The torture occurred when Maj. Lin Oo and his troops launched an offensive in the area against the MRA. When the soldiers arrived at his plantation, they arrested Nai Nyunt Maung and interrogated him to give them information about the activities of rebel leader Nai Bin. The man replied he just heard about this rebel leader and said the Mon soldiers did not come to his plantation.
Maj. Lin Oo did not believe him and accused all farmers of supporting the rebels by providing them with food and shelter. After the soldiers could not get any answers from the man, they brought him along with them and ordered him to show them the bases of the rebels. As the man didn’t know he could not show them. For three days he was used by the soldiers to walk in advance as a human-shield. During those three days, the soldiers beat him everyday. Although his family members and village leaders tried to get information about him they did not know of his fate.
On the third day, the commander was very angry with the man and ordered his men to beat him. About five soldiers beat him with their fists, sticks and rifle-butts. They beat his whole body and his face. Because of the cruel beating to his face, most of his teeth broke and in the end, he lost consciousness. The Burmese Army left him behind at a plantation of another farmer. Farmers near the area found him and brought him back to Khawza village. After he arrived back home, his family knew that he had been beaten by LIB No. 343 soldiers. They did not dare to take him to Ye town hospital, as they would face another threat from the commander. They had to treat him in the village with a traditional herbal doctor. (Source: HURFOM)
On 16 October 2002, SPDC soldiers from LIB No. 528 entered a Mon village, Magyi, and gathered all the villagers including women and children in the middle of the village and threatened that they would be killed if they supported the Mon army. At the same time, the soldiers climbed on to every house and took villagers’ property claiming that had to search for evidence of how the rebel soldiers had stayed in the village. After an interrogation, the soldiers tortured Nai Ein in front of other villagers and beat him. Then they brought him with them on the suspicion that he was a rebel-supporter. After 4 days of cruel torture, the soldiers killed him in a small forest near the sea. According to other villagers, he was innocent. (Source: HURFOM)
On 6 November 2002, a Burmese Army column arrived near Cha-ha-ke village and arrested one villager in a plantation. Maj. Lin Oo interrogated him about the activities of the Mon army. During the interrogation, he cut the villager’s body parts and tortured him. In the end, when the villager could not give a satisfactory answer, he stabbed and killed him. (Source: HURFOM)
Beating of Villagers in Kaeng-Tung.
On 10 February 2002, 5 villagers from Wan Wo village in Murng Laang village tract who were returning from the town market were beaten with a cane by an SPDC soldier from LIB 314 at the airfield in Kaeng-Tung town. These villagers were from Wan Wo village from which the route to the town market passed through the airfield just outside Kaeng-Tung town. Many villagers usually crossed the airfield when they went to the town market on foot because to go around the airfield meant walking several more kilometres and taking much more time.
When they went in the morning to the town market, the villagers went across the airfield but there was no problem and no one stopped them. But when they returned in the afternoon, they were stopped by a group of 7 SPDC troops from LIB 314 who were on security duty at the airfield. The villagers were forced to stand in line in the hot sun in front of the guardhouse.
After some time the commander of the security troops, Sein Win, came to them holding a cane and asked whether they knew crossing the airfield was prohibited during the landing and takeoff of an airplane. One of the villagers, Zaai Laa, said they did not know and no one said anything to them when they came by the same way in the morning. The SPDC commander then struck Zaai Laa on the head with the cane 3 times and continued to beat the other villagers on their thighs 3 times each. "This is just as a reminder, you will get much more next time", said the commander after the beating. (Source: SHRF)
Village Tract Headman Detained and Beaten in Murng-Ton.
On 6 July 2002, the headman of Me Ken village tract in Murng-Ton township was summoned by SPDC troops of IB 65 to the military base and interrogated. He was tortured and beaten during the interrogation. On that day, a patrol of 25 SPDC troops from IB 65, led by Capt. Han Sein of Company No.1, came to Me Ken village and told the village tract headman Pu Haeng Taeng Haan that the Tactical Commander wanted to see him about a very important matter and ordered him to come immediately with them to the military base.
When they got to the military base, a Corporal and some troops came up and arrested Pu Haeng Taeng Haan. The troops tied him up and interrogated him, forcing him to tell them how many SSA (Shan State Army) soldiers were in his area, who their leaders were and who provided them with food. During the interrogations, the SPDC troops beat and tortured the headman to squeeze out the information they wanted. As he could not answer their questions because he simply did not know, they beat him until his face was swollen all over and his head was fractured. He was detained until 27 July and was released only after a leader of the Lahu people’s militia in the area guaranteed his innocence. (Source: SHRF)
Beating and Detention of Community Leader in Nam-Zarng and Murng Nai.
On 27 March 2002, SPDC troops from one of the units in Kaeng Tawng area of Murng-Nai township arrested and severely beat up a community leader at Phaa Sawnt village in Loi La tract, Nam-Zarng township. They later detained him at their camp in Kaeng Tawng area of Murng-Nai township for 10 days. The community leader or village tract headman, Lung Haeng Zit-Ta, was newly appointed by the SPDC troops stationed at Kho Lam village relocation site in Nam-Zarng township and was told, together with the original villagers of Phaa Sawnt, to go back to their old village, over a year ago.
On the day of the incident, a patrol of SPDC troops from Kaeng Tawng had come that way and when they saw people in Phaa Sawnt village they asked who had allowed them to come back, accused them of harbouring Shan rebels in the village and asked to see their headman. When they found the headman Lung Haeng Zit-Ta, the SPDC troops arrested him, took him into the compound of the village temple and interrogated him. They forced him to tell them where the Shan rebels were. When the headman said he had not seen any Shan rebels, the SPDC troops accused him of being a Shan rebel and ordered him to hand over his pistol and walkie-talkie.
When he said he did not have anything like that, the troops beat his head and his body with a stick until he was soaked in blood and lost consciousness. The troops then ordered one of the logging trucks to take him to their base in Kaeng Tawng area and locked him up for 10 days. Finally when villagers of Phaa Sawnt and other community leaders came to ask about him, the troops told them that he was with them and not to worry about him. They said that they already knew about him and would not do any more harm to him.
Some time later, the SPDC troops put the headman under the care of a logging company and sent him on a pilgrimage to lower Burma for one month, so that he could forget his terrible experience and not report it to any authorities. For Lung Haeng Zit-Ta, however, the one-month pilgrimage could not cure him completely. Even some time after his return home, Lung Haeng Zit-Ta still looked and acted strangely as if mentally retarded. (Source: SHRF)
Mentally Retarded Villager Beaten in Murng-Ton.
On 27 June 2002, a mentally retarded villager of Naa Kawng Mu village in Murng-Ton township was severely beaten up by SPDC troops from IB 225 until he was soaked in blood and lost consciousness for about 2 hours, at his house in Naa Kawng Mu village. On 29 May, a column of SPDC troops from IB 225 from Murng-Ton, were passing through Naa Kawng Mu village on trucks and saw Zaai Zit-Ta, male, aged 40, gathering wild vegetables to feed his pigs outside the village. The soldiers forced him to get on one of the trucks and go with them.
The troops were going to the Murng-Kyawt area and when they were camping at Murng-Kyawt, Zaai Zit-Ta secretly escaped. The troops were angry and on their way back they stopped at Naa Kawng Mu village and enquired about Zaai Zit-Ta. When the SPDC troops found Zaai Zit-Ta in his house, they seized him, tied him up, and beat him until he was bleeding all over and finally lost consciousness. As the troops seized and beat Zaai Zit-Ta, some villagers who saw it ran and told the community leader about it.
The community leader or village tract headman, Lung Haeng La Mawng, then came to the scene and asked the SPDC troops what Zaai Zit-Ta had done wrong to deserve the beating. The troops said that they were teaching him a lesson because he ran away when they took him to serve as a porter. The headman then said that the troops should tell him when they needed porters and should not seize anyone they found on their way because they could be physically and mentally disabled. As for Zaai Zit-Ta, he was mentally retarded and would often do abnormal things, and sometimes he would go away from his family for 1-2 months without any apparent reasons. Although the troops stopped torturing him, released him, and apologized to the headman for their mistake, Zaai Zit-Ta had already suffered more than he could endure. He was bruised and bleeding all over and lost consciousness for 2 hours. (Source: SHRF)
Guide Tortured to Death in Kun-Hing.
On 18 June 2002, a secretary of the community leader of No.3 quarter of Kun-Hing town was tortured to death by SPDC troops from IB 246 while serving as a guide near a place called Loi Kong some distance south of Kun-Hing town, Kun-Hing township.
On the day of the incident, a patrol of about 20 SPDC troops from IB 246, led by Capt. Zaw Thein of Company No.2 came to No.3 quarter of Kung-Hing town and ordered Zaai Saw-Ta, male, aged 27, who was serving as a secretary to the community leader of No.3 quarter, to go with them as a guide. The SPDC troops told Zaai Saw-Ta that they wanted to patrol the area around Loi Kong, some distance south of the town, and ordered him to guide them. Zaai Saw-Ta then led them out of the town towards Loi Kong area.
In the evening of that day, some farmers who were returning home from their farms in Loi Kong area found the dead body of Zaai Saw-Ta in a pit near a foot-path on Loi Kong hill. He was apparently tortured to death. His throat was slit, his body bruised all over and there were marks on his wrists and legs showing that he had been tightly tied with ropes for some time.
When they heard about the incident from the farmers, Zaai Saw-Ta’s relatives went and buried his body and reported it to the SPDC authorities in Kun-Hing town. Since it was on the same day that Zaai Saw-Ta was taken as a guide and there were foot prints of Burmese soldiers leading back to the town from where the body of Zaai Saw-Ta was found. It was clear enough who did it. However, when Kun-Hing town SPDC authorities relayed the message to the authorities at IB246, they bluntly denied it and casually said that it might be the rebels who killed Zaai Saw-Ta. (Source: SHRF)
Torture and Arbitrary Arrest in Murng-Ton.
In mid April 2002, a man was arrested from his village, brought to Murng-Ton town and detained, and continually tortured by the SPDC troops of IB 225, causing him to lose consciousness several times. On 16 April, a group of 30 SPDC troops led by commander Lun Maung, from Co.3 of IB225, came to Mae Ken village in Mae Ken village tract, Murng-Ton township, and arrested a man named Saw Nyunt from his house.The SPDC troops tied Saw Nyunt up as they arrested him, beat him and dragged him away like a dead body. Saw Nyunt was taken to Murng-Ton and detained in a lockup at a military camp. Every few hours, he was taken out of the jail and interrogated.The troops accused him of providing rice to the SSA (Shan State Army) and tortured him. They beat him and covered his face with plastic bags and stifled him until he lost consciousness. The process was then repeated a few hours after he was put back in the lockup and had regained consciousness.
On 18 April 2002, about 35 SPDC troops from Co.4 of IB225, led by commander Kyaw Win, came back to Mae Ken village and searched Saw Nyunt’s house in his absence. The troops claimed they found 30 tablets of metamphetamine in Saw Nyunt’s house and accused him of also dealing in illicit drugs in addition to being a supporter of the SSA. On the same day, after searching Saw Nyunt’s house, the SPDC troops continued to search the house of a widow, Naang Khawng. Naang Khawng was a widow with 3 children and she used to peddle small consumer goods among Lahu villages of Pung Phaa - Pung Tawng during the opium harvest 2-3 months earlier.The SPDC troops accused Naang Khawng of being the wife of a Shan soldier, arrested her, and took her to Murng-Ton to be locked up. The troops also took 57,000 kyat and 2 baht weight of gold ornaments from Naang Khawng’s house.No further infomation about Saw Nyunt and Naang Khawng has been received since then. (Source: SHRF)
Fatal Beating for Failing to Grow Opium in Murng-Kerng.
On 21 Janaury 2002, 1 man of 29 villagers, who were detained and beaten by SPDC troops of LIB514 in Murng-Kerng township for failing to grow opium, died of the beating and the rest were ordered to carry his remains back to his village to conduct a funeral. Later money was extorted from them. It was said that on 4 October 2001, SPDC military authorities in Murng-Kerng township issued an instruction requiring every household in the villages to grow opium. On 20 January 2002, after they had checked and found that there were 29 houses that had not grown any opium as instructed, the SPDC troops summoned 1 person from each house to come to the military base.
At the base, the 29 villagers were scolded for defying orders and beaten 10 times each with sticks by the SPDC troops and were locked up at the base during the night. The next day, the villagers were taken out of jail, forced to squat in a line and beaten again, this time 15 times each. As the beating was about to be over, 1 of the villagers, Paw Thao Mung, male, aged 61, fell down and fainted and could not get up. The troops then kicked at him and beat him several more times. When they stopped to look at him, he was already dead. The troops then ordered the remaining 28 villagers to carry the dead body of Paw Thao Mung back to his village and conduct a funeral for him.
On 27 January 2002, the remaining 28 villagers were called to the military base once more and scolded again for not obeying the military commander’s orders and were accused of rebelling against the military government. The villagers were told to choose between 3 years’ imprisonment or a fine of 150,000 kyat each. As all the villagers chose to pay the fine, they were given 20 days to complete paying it and were threatened with death if they broke their promise. It was reported that some who were not able to find the needed amount of money in time fled to different places as far away as they could. (Source: SHRF)
Beating and Extortion in Murng-Paeng.
On 2 May 2002, the headman of Ta Long village in Murng Pu Long village tract, Murng-Paeng township, was beaten by SPDC troops from IB43 so severely that his skull was fractured, his body soaked in blood, and he lost consciousness several times during the beating. In March 2002, Capt. Soe Maung Oo, the commander of the SPDC troops from Co.3 of Murng-Paeng-based IB43 and stationed at an outpost camp in Murng Pu Long tract, ordered the village headman of Ta Long village, Nan-Daa, to collect money from any new arrivals from other places who came to settle down in Ta Long village area. He instructed that 5,000 kyat should be collected from each household.
On the day of the incident, the SPDC commander and his troops came to Ta Long village to inspect the situation and found that there were 11 new houses in the village since the last time that they had come. The commander asked the village headman for the money he had told him to collect from the new settlers. Headman Nan-Daa explained that he could not collect any money from the newcomers because they were destitute displaced farmers and each household did not even have 500 kyat, let alone 5,000 kyat.
The SPDC commander did not believe the headman and accused him of trying to steal the money for himself and struck him on the head with his pistol, fracturing his head, and kicked him to the ground, causing him to lose consciousness for some time. When the headman regained consciousness, the commander beat and kicked him again and again until he was soaked in blood and lost consciousness 2-3 times. After he had beaten the headman to his satisfaction, the SPDC commander ordered the headman to find 30,000 kyat for him within 15 days and left the village, taking away with him a pig weighing over 30 kg from the headman’s house. (Source: SHRF)
Civilian Driver Beaten with Rifle Butt in Ta-Khi-Laek.
On 10 January 2002, an SPDC soldier from LIB331 beat up a civilian driver with a rifle butt in the forehead, causing a big wound that needed to be treated with 6 stitches at a hospital. The reason for the beating was that the man questioned the activities of the SPDC troops, in Ta-Khi-Laek. Since 1 January, SPDC authorities in Ta-Khi-Laek had put up a surprise checkpoint on the main road in the centre of Ta-Khi-Laek town. They stopped trucks and cars that had dark stickers or plastic sheets on their windshield and window glasses, and tore them away by cutting and peeling them off with knives
The force that manned the checkpoint was a mixed lot coming from different SPDC departments such as administration, military, police and people’s militia. As one of the security measures for the "Myanmar-Thai Friendship Trade Fair 2002", they tore off dark shading sheets from every truck and car, except for those of the military and some of the officers of the UWSA (United Wa State Army). When the security officers at the checkpoint tore off the dark stickers from one of the cars coming from Kaeng-Tung, out of curiosity the driver asked, "Why did you do that? I think civilians are not terrorists".
On hearing that, one of the security persons, a soldier from LIB331, struck the driver right on the forehead with his G-3 rifle butt, sending him to the ground with blood gushing out from the wound in his forehead. Zaai Wun Pan, male, aged 39, the victim, was from Nawng Phaa village in Kaeng-Tung township. After the beating, he went to a hospital in the Thai border town of Mae Sai for treatment of his wound. He received some medicine and 7 stitches on his forehead, which cost him 600 Baht. (Source: SHRF)
On 6 March 2002, a patrol from SPDC IB99 based at Larng Khur arrived at the village of Wan Morn La, where they seized and tortured villager Loong Sarng La. Accusing him of having connections with Shan resistance groups, the victim was beaten and tortured until he lost his consciousness. After they were satisfied they could get nothing, the soldiers released him before they left the village. (Source: Freedom, March & April 2002)
On 20 March 2002, more than 20 soldiers arrived at the village of Wan Morn La. To feed their pack ponies, they demanded 2 bowls (about 6 litres) of unhusked paddy from each family in the village. Later they searched and robbed every house for chicken, rice, cooking oil and other provisions. Those who were too poor and had nothing were beaten for not being cooperative. (Source: Freedom, March & April 2002)
On 5 April 2002, an 80-men-strong Burmese patrol from IB 247 based in Nam Zarng captured "Loong Sigta", the headman of Keng Kham village tract. Accused of being and informer of the Shan resistance group, he was detained and tortured continuously for 3 days. Food and water were not given. His hair was pulled out until his head was almost bare. The soldiers had demanded a confession about something he knew nothing. The soldiers also demanded a pistol and a communication set from the victim. After 3 days, the victim was mis-shapen and could not be recognized anymore.
When the Burmese troops continued their patrol to Naa Law village, the victim was last seen being dragged along by the Burmese soldiers. But after the Burmese patrol returned from Naa Law, "Loong Sigta" was not found among them. After the Burmese patrol left on 11 April 2002, the villagers went to search for their beloved headman, but not even a trace was found. "Loong Sigta" was presumed dead, murdered by the Burmese patrol form SPDC IB 247. (Source: Freedom, March & April 2002)
On 5 April 2002, an 80-men-strong Burmese patrol from IB 247, based in Nam Zarng, captured " Saray Pan Sigta", age 37, a villager of Wan Pha Sont, Loi La tract, Kho Lam. Accused of supporting the Shan resistance, the victim was tied and forced to lie down on the ground. The soldiers then jumped on his chest and abdomen, until he could barely move. Then he was forced to stand up again and again, followed by interrogation and beating, until he become unconscious.
During the torturing of "Saray Pan Sigta", his younger sister, "Nang Nu" came to his rescue. With her fluent Burmese, she managed to negotiate for her brother’s life. Liquor, meat and food were served to all the Burmese troops in the camp for several days and she finally gave 15,000 kyats for the Burmese commander to sign his release. The liquor and food cost her about 130,000 kyats to save the life of "Saray Pan Sigta". (Source: Freedom, March & April 2002)
On 6 November 2002, Burmese troops based at Kali arrested the following innocent villagers: Sai Kai, age 18, Sai Phi, age 6, Teacher Mya Awng, age 30, Nang Pemg, age 45, Sai Ter, age 15, Nang Oo, age 18. The innocent arrested villages were beaten and tortured. The Burmese troops did not even spare the children. Sai Kai lost one of his eyes as a result of the beating and Teacher Mya Awng was pregnant but after she was beaten up severely she was taken to the hospital by the villagers. (Source: Freedom, January 2003)
On Saturday,12 January 2002, Captain Than Maung, Commander of Company 3, Battalion 281, summoned villagers farming around the village of Nakawngmu, halfway between Mongton and Border Pass 1, and interrogated them as to why he was not informed in advance about the movements of the Shan State Army in the area. "11 of them who had farms along the Harng river became unconscious 2-3 times through the beatings," he said. The Harng flows near the village. (Source: SHAN)
On 10 January 2002 soldiers from LIB No. 530 led by Kyaw Soe went to Daw Takleh village, Kelya Township (Pruso). The village chief and nine other villagers were arrested, interrogated and tortured by the SPDC troops. They were accused of having hosted and supported Karenni forces, which had been operating in the area. The SPDC troops claimed that because of their support, the Karenni troops had been able to ambush them. (Source: KNAHR)
On 24 June 2002 troops from IB No. 17 at Naung Htaung base, led by Captain Khin Maung Myint, came to Tar Wah village, Loikaw Township,. They arrested three Tar Wah villagers in their rice field without giving a reason. The villagers were interrogated and tortured by the troops with regards to Karenni forces activities. They were continuously tortured for three days and finally released on 26 June. Due to the mistreatment by the troops, they were all injured. One of them is no longer able to walk. (Source: KNAHR)
On 5 August 2002, a column of Burmese troops from LIB No. 302, under the command of Maung Maung Ko, arrested three Shadaw relocation camp residents, Kay Reh, 30, Pray Reh, 50, and Kyaw Than, 45, without giving a reason. They were tortured by the troops and detained at a military base for 7 days. (Source: KNAHR)
On 1 September 2002, about 90 Burmese troops from LIB No. 84 and 171, commanded by Major Myint Naing, arrested 8 farmers from Teelon village in their paddy fields and tortured them. They were accused of having contact with KNPP forces. (Source: KNAHR)
Interview with an Ex-DKBA Torturer.
Name Ka Tone Gyi
Age 22 years.
Race/Religion Karen / Buddhist
Address Kar Inn Sake Kyi township, Karen State
DKBA Thaw Thi Wah (Elite Security Force for Myaing Gyi Ngu) - BC/07081
"In 1996, I was so confused about the situation, especially the split among Karen nationalities. An officer of KNU noticed what was on my mind. One day, he said to me that, "If you want to join DKBA, you can join, but do not forget to stand for our people." Then I left and joined DKBA. As a DKBA member, I had to sustain the following:
(1) To protect our race and religion.
(2) To respect and be loyal our race.
(3) To respect the elders.
(4) To sustain moral ethics.
However, DKBA members never follow the four principles. If they follow only one principle, many people will support them. I was unhappy with them so I decided to join the KNLA, bringing five rifles from DKBA. In 2001, while I went back to my village to help my parent’s harvest, I was arrested by DKBA soldiers. I could be easily recognized because on my face a tattoo is written, "I Love You." Then DKBA soldiers decided that I should be executed, but a DKBA officer intervened and saved my life.
I stayed with DKBA soldiers and that time I realized that many of them became addicts of amphetamine. Thus, to achieve trust from DKBA members, I also tried to be rude and brutal. I hit and punched three villagers who were charged as being KNU supporters. SPDC and DKBA officers liked my interrogation style and started trusting me. Two months later I was sent to the Elite Security Force. I was assigned as a machine gunner. When my platoon captain signaled me to prepare for the escape, I tried my best and at last we reached to a KNU base. (Source: KIC)
Interview with Prison Torture Victim:January 2002
[CHRO Note: Ms. Ni Cia, a 23-year-old Chin woman and a former political prisoner in Burma, is currently seeking asylum in Malaysia under the United Nations’ auspices. While awaiting her status to be determined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in Kuala Lumpur, she faces precarious situations there. She has been arrested on more than one occasion by Malaysian police on immigration charges, a typical and daily experience encountered by most Chin refugees from Burma in Malaysia, who lack international legal protection.
Before fleeing Burma, Ni Cia was arrested in 1998 and convicted to two years in jail under Section 17(a) of Unlawful Association Act, for having associated with activities of the Chin National Front, an armed opposition group fighting against the Burmese military regime. After serving out her sentence in Kalay prison, she fled to Malaysia in July 2001.
In the following interview conducted by Chin Human Rights Organization, Ni Cia recounted how she endured the systematic method of torture employed by Burmese military regime on suspected members of oppositions as well as her experience in Burma’s prison. Currently more than a dozen Chin women are serving political sentence in Kalay jail under similar conditions.]
CHRO: When and where were you arrested?
Ms. Ni Cia: I was arrested on December 4th 1998, Friday at Cong Thia village, Thantlang Township, Chin State.
CHRO: What was the reason for your arrest?
Ms. Ni Cia: I was arrested because the Burmese troops learnt about my contacts with members of the Chin National Front, CNF. My friend, (Ms) Men Thluai and I have been helping the activities of the Chin National Front by giving them information about the movements of the Burmese troops around our village as well as in many other types of activity of CNF. We were responsible for carrying out rural development projects put forward by the CNF as well as shopping necessary goods and commodities for CNF activists, which are only available in larger towns.
I was a private teacher at a middle school. I was visiting a friend when a group of Burmese soldiers accompanied by a local village council member who would identify me appeared at the door out of nowhere and arrested me.
CHRO: What happened after your arrest?
Ms. Ni Cia: The Burmese soldiers immediately escorted me to Thantlang town on foot. Shortly after we departed our village it started to get dark. My hands were tied to my back. They wouldn’t shed flashlights to my way and I would stumble several times along the journey. Whenever I stumbled and fell down, they would call me a bitch, and spit on me and call me by all kinds of abusive languages.
We arrived Thantlang town at 6:00 in the morning after traveling on foot overnight. After two days of detention in Thanthang, military intelligence personnel came up to me in the morning and tied my hands up and loaded me into an army truck. I was seated on the floor of an army truck surrounded by 30 armed men. I was being taken to Haka. Since the road was unpaved and rough, I would fall to the floor whenever the truck shook. Since my hands were tied up, I was unable to get up easily after being thrown to the floor by the movement of the truck. I injured my rib from this and it hurt a lot. Sometimes my sarong (Skirts) got unfastened and I became half naked in front of 30 men surrounding me. They would lift my skirts up with their gun barrel and ask me how many times I have sexually entertained members of the CNF or if I was a concubine of a CNF man.
Upon our arrival in Hakha, I was handed over to the local policewomen. I overheard them calling the 266 Army Infantry Battalion and soon afterwards I was blindfolded with my hands and feet tied up and being loaded into the waiting army truck. I did not have a clue as to where I was being taken. The next thing I remember was when my blindfold was removed and I found myself in a stone cell with no single hole or ventilation. It was in fact an army base in Rungtlang. (Rungtlang or mount Rung is located above Haka town) Then I started to feel severe pain in my ribs. When I asked where I was, they responded me by saying that I was such a stupid person who thinks herself so brave as to rebel the government and that I was in a place of no return.
CHRO: What happened afterwards?
Ms. Ni Cia: They started torturing me in that cell. There were altogether seven people interrogating me. Each one of them used different technique of torture. While my hands remained tied up to my back, they put a plastic hood over my head and tightly secured around my neck and I began to suffocate. Only after I began to feel unconscious and fell to the ground did they poke a hole in the plastic hood around my nose with their cigarette lights. Afterwards they tied up my feet and my hands to the front, and they let me do sit-ups until I fell to the ground from exhaustion. Each time I fell down, they started grinding my toes and my fingertips with their military boots to the floor. The pain was agonizing.
Later, they gave me an electric shock. After that they beat me all over my body with a 3-inch thick wooden stick. There were bruises all over my body and I was soaked in blood. They kicked me and punched me all over my body.
They made me take a bath with icy water in the middle of the chilling December night. They even burned my checks with their cigarette lights. Afterwards, they threw me into a dark pit. It was chilling inside the pit after being soaked in water. The torture went on for 7 days and I was deprived of food and sleep during the whole week. I caught a fever on the seventh day and by that time my body was soaked with my vomits. When they try to start torturing me on the seventh day, I just fell unconscious from my weakness and pain. The next thing I knew was I had been transferred to the local Police station, which has no separate facility or cell for women. My interrogators and torturers were all men all along.
CHRO: When and how did you end up in Kalay Prison and what sentence did you get?
Ms. Ni Cia: It was on January 20, 1999 that the verdict was reached by the judge. I appeared in court nine times before being sentenced to 2 years in prison. I was convicted under so-called Section 17(a), which is something related to armed insurgency. This sentence landed me into Kalay Prison on February 2nd 1999.
CHRO: Did you feel that you were treated differently or discriminated against because of your being a Chin woman?
Ms. Ni Cia: Throughout the course of my interrogation and torture, as well as in the prison, what they always emphasized was "You Chin people are uncivilized beings who from your ancestors do not know how to dress up properly, and who shamelessly dare to oppose the army’s authority". During one of my interrogation sessions, they made me strip naked and they let me mimic the way a traditional Chin man would dress in pre-colonial period.
In the prison, women prison guards on duty treated non-Burman ethnic women differently. Even Burman inmates would look down upon us and would always use abusive language to us. We weren’t supposed to talk back to anything being said to us or we risked beatings and whipping.
CHRO: Did you have to work in the Kalay prison?
Ms. Ni Cia: We have to work all the time in Kalay prison. We work on sowing and harvesting crops. On those occasions, we were taken out to the fields. But most of the time, we work inside the prison compound. We took care of vegetable plantations; we cleaned the prison facilities, cells and the like. Sometimes the women guards would make us wash their underwear and materials that they had used for their menstrual purposes. Until 9 p.m. at night we did knitting and embroidery works.
During the summer when the temperature got really hot, we were made to kill 500 flies (insects) per day per person. We were caned 20 times if we failed to meet the designated number of flies to be killed. The women political prisoners weren’t usually let work outside of the prison but men inmates with similar cases have to labor in worksites other than the prison compound. Under the burning temperature, these men inmates are forced to work without rest and without proper meals. We often heard that 3 to 5 prisoners were dying everyday under those conditions. There might have been many Chin men prisoners. This thought just makes me heartbroken.
CHRO: What kind of food were you given in the prison?
Ms. Ni Cia: What can you expect? What a prisoner gets is the worst possible kind of food one can imagine. For breakfast meal we were given rice, which was the kind of rice we would normally feed pigs with, and a tiny bowl of watery pea soup. The rice is mingled with half unprocessed grains and small bits of stones. Before we could eat the rice we had to separate stones and unprocessed grains from the rice. What’s left after doing that was just a tiny amount of rice. For dinner, they gave us the same sort of rice with sweet potato leaves cooked in a huge metal barrel. Sometimes they would give us rice soups for breakfast. The soup was so watery that it looked just like water that had been used for washing up the rice. It was too salty. We were fed twice a day.
CHRO: How was the medical care when you get sick in the prison?
Ms. Ni Cia: There is no proper medical attention at all. Only after we became
seriously ill, would they give us some pills. It did not help at all because it was usually too late for the medicines to have any affect on us. Another problem was that we did not have enough water. We were allowed to use only ten small cups of water for bathing. This was only when we have enough water. But when water got scarce we are allowed to use only six cups of water. Due to this we contacted all kinds of skin diseases. When we got sick or caught a fever, there are no enough blankets to keep us warm. What we had was a sheet of blanket just enough to cover our body. We would cry and moan from sickness and the guard would scold us and accuse us of pretending sick just because we were too lazy to work.
CHRO: Apart from yourself, how many Chin women were or are still there in Kalay Prison. Could you please tell us their names, from which areas, town or district in Chin State they are originally?
Ms. Ni Cia: As far as my knowledge goes, there are approximately 25 Chin women inmates in Kalay prison. A few of them were released while I was there. I don’t know about all of them but the following are people that I remember as far as my recollection goes.
1- Dawt Thluai Ling (Haka, Chin State)
2- Khuangzi (Loklung, Chin State)
3- Sai Cer (Tlangpi, Chin State)
(These three women are political prisoners arrested in connection with CNF)
4- Mah Sui (Tidim, Chin State)
5- Hoi Ngeih Dim (From Tidim, Chin State)
6- Sial Cing (Tidim, Chin State)
7- Nu Dim Alias Khun Nu (From Tidim, Chin State)
8- Man Suan Dim (From Tidim, Chin State)
9- Nu Ngeih (From Tidim, Chin State)
10- Ma Biak (From Tahan, Kalay township, Sagiand Division)
11- Nuam Cing (Tidim, Chin State)
12- U Hrang (Falam, Chin State)
13- Khun Nu (Falam, Chin State)
14- Sui Nawn Sung (Dong Va, Chin State)
15- Ni Zi (Lung Hnam, Chin State)
16- *Sai Sung (Bungkhua, Chin State)
*Ms. Sai Sung came in just before I was released. She has two children, 9 and 11 years old. Her husband was arrested before she was. Both of them were arrested for sympathizing and collaborating with the CNF. Their children are being taken care of by a very old couple in Thangtlang. At the time of Sai Sung’s arrest, she was forced to take off her clothes and paraded naked in front of the Burmese soldiers. While was being escorted by the soldiers from her village to Thantlang town, she was forced to wear only her underwear all along the one-day journey on foot.
In addition to the names I just mentioned, there are several other women whose names and original places I cannot remember. Their sufferings are beyond anyone’s comprehension. More or less their cases have to do with some kinds of political activity. The above 16 women are those that are facing particularly difficult situations. They have either no close relative to support them or no one to look after their children. Most of them are serving out prison terms ranging from a minimum 15 to 35 years. They have no hope for outliving their prison terms. They just want to die now than going through a slow and painful death. They are very weak and depressed because they all have children and family to think about. Most of them are suffering from high-blooded pressure from depression and vitamin deficiency. They have no access to medical attention and their sicknesses worsened due to lack of nutritious food. In fact, the foods they eat obviously make their sickness worse. It is really heartbreaking to even think about their conditions.
CHRO: How do you plan to move on?
Ms. Ni Cia: Without legal protection, I am vulnerable to arrest and all kinds of police harassment here in Malaysia. I am constantly in fear for my safety. I don’t know how long I can hide before being arrested again and possibly sent back to Burma. (Source: CHRO)
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