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BURMA: Urination and phone call result in brutal police assault and torture 28.09.

10 13:25

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BURMA: Urination and phone call result in brutal police


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Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-151-2010


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28 September 2010
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Printer ISSUES: Torture; assault; police violence


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U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
ALRC STATEMENT ON BURMA
http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/hrc15/630/

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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received details of a complaint that
two brothers have lodged against police in Pegu, Burma over a serious assault.
According to them, a group of local police in plain clothes beat them up after the police
thought that one was using his mobile phone to take photos of them assaulting four
other men whom they had accosted for urinating on the roadside. Since the complaint
was lodged in August no action has reportedly been taken against the alleged offenders.

CASE NARRATIVE:

On the night of 11 August 2010, Maung Kyaw Thura and his brother were traveling by
motorcycle when they saw five persons beating up four others at the front of divisional
courthouse in Pegu town, north of Rangoon. The four had come from a bar and were urinating
on the roadside when the group of five--four police and a civilian approached them and saying
that they were police, began beating them.

As none of the police were in uniforms, Maung Kyaw Thura and brother also stopped to see
what was happening. At that time the brother received a call on his mobile phone. One of the
police, commander of Police Station No. 1 in Pegu, Inspector Kaung Zan, walked over and
thinking that Aung Win Htaik was taking a photo of the fight with the mobile, grabbed the phone
and threw it into the street. The police, whose breath smelled of alcohol, then started assaulting
the two brothers with fists and sticks.

After the police beat up the six on the roadside, they took them back to the police station via
trishaw. According to the victims, inside the barracks the police said that they would "teach
[them] to know [their] place" and forced them to lie prone on the floor. Then the four police beat
each of the men around 50 times with metal-buckled belts, kicked them and trampled on them.
If the victims made any sound or tried to talk, they were beaten more and for longer. The police
also broke a second mobile phone and took money.

After continuing like this for some time, the police separated the two brothers from the others in
the group. Then they ordered the brothers to strip naked and continued to assault them. They
also allegedly set fire to newspaper and the station commander himself used it to burn the
men's genitalia.

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BURMA: Urination and phone call result in brutal police assault and torture 28.09.10 13:25

At about 3am, the police put the men inside the lockup. At about 9:30am the next morning,
they returned only some of the money and a broken telephone and released the men. The
brothers then went to get medical treatment at the town hospital, and have detailed medical
records and photographs that attest to the alleged assault.

At least one of the victims subsequently complained of the alleged assault to the home affairs
minister after the incident; however, no action has so far seemingly been taken to investigate or
prosecute the police officers involved, despite the medical evidence of assault and detailed
depositions of the alleged police violence.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Not long after the above incident occurred, soldiers in Pegu also shot and killed two youths
during an argument. The news was widely reported and on September 10 the state-run media
announced that the shooting occurred during a "drunken brawl" in which the two victims were
among a larger group who assaulted a security officer. The state media accused foreign media
and others of misrepresenting the case. At present it is also unclear if any action will be taken
against the soldiers involved; however, as impunity for abuses of this sort is systemic in Burma,
the prospects of justice for the victims and families are remote.

For other recent appeals on cases of torture and abuse by police in Burma see: UAU-033-
2010, UAC-016-2010; UAC-011-2010; and, UAU-018-2009.

All urgent appeals on Burma can be accessed by going to the appeals homepage and typing
"Burma" or "Myanmar" into the search box: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/. For further discussion see
articles and special reports on the article 2 website:http://www.article2.org/search.php again
search for Burma/Myanmar; and, see the 2009 AHRC annual report on Burma.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre recently released a special report on rule of law and human
rights issues in Burma in the lead up to the Universal Periodic Review process for the country
at the United Nations in Geneva. The report and annexe are available on the ALRC website at:
http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/upr/ (scroll to bottom of page).

To browse hundreds of other Burma-related appeals issued by the AHRC, go to the appeals
homepage and type "Burma" or "Myanmar" into the search box: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/.

The AHRC Burmese-language blog is updated constantly for Burmese-language readers, and
covers the contents of urgent appeal cases, related news, and special analysis pieces.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the persons listed below to call for an investigation into this alleged incident.
Please note that for the purposes of the letter Burma is referred to by its official name,
Myanmar; and Pegu as Bago.

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on
Myanmar and, torture, and the regional human rights office for Southeast Asia calling for
interventions into this case.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

MYANMAR: Urination and mobile phone call result in savage police assault

Details of victims:
1. Maung Kyaw Thura, resident of Ywathit Ward, Bago
2. Aung Win Htaik, older brother of Maung Kyaw Thura, residing as above
3. Yan Paing Soe
4. Htet Ko Ko Naing
5. Saw Thawar

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BURMA: Urination and phone call result in brutal police assault and torture 28.09.10 13:25

6. Aye Chan Soe

Alleged perpetrators:
1. Inspector Kaung Zan, Station Commander, Police Station No. 1, Bago
2. Sub-Inspector Min Soe, Police Station No. 1, Bago
3. Sub-Inspector Kyaw Thura, Police Station No. 1, Bago
4. Trainee Sub-Inspector Pyi Phyoe Maung, Police Station No. 1, Bago

Date and place of incident: Yangon-Mandalay Highway, Bago, 11 August 2010 around
10:30pm

I have been informed of a case of serious police assault in Myanmar in which despite complaint
by the victims so far no action has been taken against the alleged perpetrators. I am writing to
urge that an investigation and prosecution follow.

According to the information that I have received, around 10:30 on the night of 11 August 2010,
Maung Kyaw Thura and his brother were traveling by motorcycle when they saw five persons
beating up four others at the front of the divisional courthouse in Bago town. The four, Yan
Paing Soe, Htet Ko Ko Naing, Saw Thawar and Aye Chan Soe had come from a bar and were
urinating on the roadside when the group of five--four police and another--accosted them.

As none of the police were in uniforms, Maung Kyaw Thura and his brother also stopped to see
what was happening. At that time, Aung Win Htaik received a call on his mobile phone. One of
the men in the melee, whom the victims later learned was the chief of Police Station No. 1 in
Bago, Inspector Kaung Zan, walked over and apparently thinking that Aung Win Htaik was
taking a photo of the fight with the mobile, grabbed the phone and threw it into the street. The
police then started assaulting the two brothers with fists and sticks. According to the victims, at
that time they could distinctly smell alcohol on the breath of all the police.

After the police beat up the six on the roadside, they took the two brothers together with the
other four men back to the police station via trishaw. According to the victims, inside the
barracks the police said that they would "teach [them] to know [their] place" and forced them to
lie prone on the floor. Then the four police beat each of the men around 50 times with metal-
buckled belts, kicked them and trampled on them. If the victims made any sound or tried to talk,
they were beaten more and for longer. The police also broke a second mobile phone and took
money.

Continuing like this for some time, the police separated the two brothers from the others in the
group. Then they ordered the brothers to strip naked and continued to assault them. They also
allegedly set fire to newspaper and the station commander himself used it to burn the men's
genitalia.

At about 3am, the police put the men inside the lockup. At about 9:30am on August 12 they
returned only some of the money and one broken telephone and released the men. The
brothers then went to get medical treatment at the town hospital, and have detailed medical
records and photographs that attest to the alleged assault.

I am informed that at least one of the victims complained of the alleged assault to the home
affairs minister after the incident; however, no action has so far seemingly been taken to
investigate or prosecute the police officers involved, despite the medical evidence of assault
and detailed depositions of the alleged police violence.

Accordingly, I urge that there be a full special investigation of this incident and that the alleged
perpetrators be criminally prosecuted. I also call for the victims to receive compensation for their
losses and expenses.

In this respect, I note that at present there are no arrangements to ensure that police are held
to account for abuses of this sort in Myanmar and that consequently numerous allegations of
wrongdoing and criminal behaviour by members of the police force are not met with any
effective action. Until such a time as there is a significant change in institutional arrangements
for the policing of society in Myanmar, I am concerned that such incidents will persist and that

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BURMA: Urination and phone call result in brutal police assault and torture 28.09.10 13:25

despite complaints by victims, abusers will continue to go unpunished.

I also take this opportunity to urge the Government of Myanmar to join the UN Convention
against Torture, and remind it of the need to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross
access to places of detention, in accordance with its globally recognized mandate, without any
further delay.

Yours sincerely,

----------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Maj-Gen. (Retd.) Maung Oo


Minister for Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663
Fax: +95 67 412 439

2. Lt-Gen. (Retd.) Thein Sein


Prime Minister
c/o Ministry of Defence
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: + 95 1 372 681
Fax: + 95 1 652 624

3. U Aung Toe
Chief Justice
Office of the Supreme Court
Office No. 24
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: + 95 67 404 080/ 071/ 078/ 067 or + 95 1 372 145
Fax: + 95 67 404 059

4. U Aye Maung
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Office No. 25
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: +95 67 404 088/ 090/ 092/ 094/ 097
Fax: +95 67 404 146/ 106

5. Brig-Gen. Khin Yi
Director General
Myanmar Police Force
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663
Fax: +951 549 663 / 549 208

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme


Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia)

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BURMA: Urination and phone call result in brutal police assault and torture 28.09.10 13:25

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