Japan journalist tells of Myanmar’s political prisoners torture

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Myanmar’s political prisoners have told the Japanese journalists who were arrested for a short time about how they were tortured with beatings and sleep deprivation. Last month, Yuki Kitazumi was detained in Myanmar with other political prisoners in Insein prison located in Yangon and got released last week.

He said to the reporters in Tokyo that he have met with these prisoners in Insein and was asked to convey their messages as they would not be able to freely do so even if they were to be released. He mentioned about tortures that these prisoners have gone through such as getting blindfolded with their hands handcuffed behind them and then they were forced to kneel on the concrete floor.

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He said that he also heard about a case where the interrogators were drinking alcohol while torturing the prisoners, there was this one time where a prisoner was asked to choose a knife or a gun. “If you chose a gun, the interrogation continued with a gun pointed at your head.” He added. Kitazumi also said he was told that if the prisoners were to refuse to admit the accusations against them, they will get beaten with a stick and there are times where they get deprived of sleep.

He said that the prisoner would not be able to sleep as interrogators were rotated. “You weren’t allowed to use a bathroom and if you wet yourself that would become a reason to be beaten,” he added. Kitazumi said that he was imprisoned in a four-metre by two-metre (12-foot by six-foot) cell which dates back from the colonial period and have not gotten tortured.

The journalist got arrested in February and was immediately released. He was then detained again in April together with several reporters during the military crackdown. He was charged over spreading “fake news” which was later dropped after his release. Myanmar state broadcaster MRTV reported that he was released as a form of reconciliation with Japan and as a way to improve Myanmar’s relationship with the country.

Myanmar’s decision to free Kitazumi coincided with Japan’s announcement that it would offer US$4 million in emergency food via the World Food Program.

Japan has suspended sending new aids to Myanmar and the foreign minister said that ongoing projects with the coup-hit country would be possibly halted. Kitazumi is urging the authorities to help the people of Myanmar using the same Japanese government power that was used to help him be released.

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