Myanmar military carrying out torture campaign: AP investigation

Soldiers are transported in a truck in Myanmar
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An investigation by The Associated Press found the Myanmar military has been carrying out a torture campaign since its military coup in February.

The AP interviewed dozens of people who said they had been tortured, including women and children, military officials who had defected, the family and friends of those who have been arrested and experts on the topic. 

The outlet found dozen of interrogation centers along with prisons have been used to systematically torture detainees.

“In our country, after being arrested unfairly, there is torture, violence and sexual assaults happening constantly,” said Lin Htet Aung, a former army captain who defected from the military in April. “Even a war captive needs to be treated and taken care of by law. All of that is gone with the coup. … The world must know.”

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says at least 1,218 prisoners have been killed, with at least 131 tortured to death.

The AP reported that some of those detained and tortured by the military were arrested for pro-democracy activism, while others were arbitrarily detained.

Men faced more physical torture, while women were tortured more psychologically with threats of rape. Both still faced severe beatings, according to the AP.

It also reported that the military appeared to seek to cover up evidence of torture by making prisoners sign a form stating there was no torture or forcing doctors to falsify a prisoner’s death record to say they died from previous health issues.

“It seems to indicate that the torturers actually sort of care about being found out,”  Andrew Jefferson, a Myanmar prisons researcher at the Danish Institute Against Torture, told the outlet. “So few ever get convicted that I don’t really understand why they care.”

When the AP reached out to the military with detailed questions from the investigation, the military responded saying they wouldn’t answer their “nonsense questions.”

Tags Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Human rights abuses Internal conflict in Myanmar Myanmar The Associated Press

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