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Guards beat prison inmates to death in Myanmar’s Bago region, sources say

Guards have severely beaten and interrogated 24 inmates of a prison in Myanmar’s eastern Bago region, according to sources close to the prison.

Three of the inmates of Kyaik Sa Kaw Prison in Daik-U township were beaten to death according to one source, while others – in critical condition – were put in a dark room without food for four days.

The interrogations were held over several days starting May 25. The source, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said the prisoners were accused of communicating with members of the Bago People’s Defense Force who are sheltering in territory controlled by the powerful Karen National Union ethnic organization.

“They were beaten and interrogated for having connections with the armed group,” said the source.

“They couldn’t say no. How could they have any contact from prison?”

The source said the prison authorities have not yet informed the families of the three prisoners believed to have died.

Others close to the prison identified one of the dead as Thant Zin Win. He was in charge of training and recruiting people for the Bago township People’s Defense Force. He was arrested along with other members of the anti-junta militia on December 14, 2022.

Thant Zin Win was charged with breaking several sections of the Counter-Terrorism Law and sentenced to 80 years in prison, according to a Bago People’s Defense Force statement on Saturday.

Sources close to the prison speculated that the interrogations took place in retaliation for a prison break at Taungoo in Bago region on May 18. Inmates grabbed guns from prison guards and nine managed to escape into the jungle where they were met by members of a local People’s Defense Force.

RFA called Prison Department spokesman Naing Win on Wednesday to find out details of the alleged beatings and deaths but no one answered.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.