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AP-Red Cross Visits Myanmar Prisone

Subject: AP-Red Cross Visits Myanmar Prisoners

Thursday May 6 12:29 PM ET

Red Cross Visits Myanmar Prisoners

GENEVA (AP) - The International Committee of the Red Cross began Thursday
visiting detainees at a prison in Yangon, the Myanmar capital, where many of
the country's political prisoners are held.

Outsiders are rarely allowed access to Insein Prison, and the ICRC said it
was the first time it had been able to visit.

The visits took place under the terms of a verbal agreement with the
government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, which allows the ICRC ``access
to all places of detention in the country,'' the organization said.

The military government frequently sends democracy activists and student
protesters to Insein.

Former prisoners and human rights groups have reported the political
detainees are frequently tortured.

Myanmar's government has been condemned by the U.N. General Assembly for
human rights violations and jailing and harassing the country's democratic
opposition led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

The junta seized power in 1988 after violently suppressing pro-democracy
demonstrations. Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory in 1990
parliamentary elections, but the military refused to yield power.