Myanmar Amnesty report: Junta deploys torture, death threats

Anti-coup demonstrator Ma Kyu, who was arrested in Kayah state, in Myanmar’s east, told researchers a police officer had said to her: “We can just kill you after the arrest. We do not even need to put you in jail. We can simply shoot you.”

Ma Win, a protest group leader in Shan state said her little toe was cut with a saw when police arrested her on a bus. She was taken to Mandalay’s Obo Prison.

“They also used a stick to beat my back. All of them sounded drunk. I was threatened that I would be hit with the butt of the gun if I looked up.”

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing announces an extension of the state of emergency in Myanmar on state television on Monday.Credit:MRTV

The Amnesty report also chronicles how people were not permitted to use the bathroom for several days while being interrogated and were provided food unsuitable for eating or no food or water at all.

There were also allegations of invasive body searches, harassment and humiliation of women and LGBTI detainees and, in the case of Obo Prison, CCTV cameras being placed in women’s showers and toilet cubicles, with the warden watching from the control room.

Describing an example of sexual violence, a woman quoted by Amnesty said: “One of my friends has a Nigerian boyfriend. When the interrogators found out, around five or six of them showed their male private parts to her. They asked her ‘Do you like only the foreigner’s private part better?’ They also asked her to be on all fours and hit her hip with cane sticks. They took photos of her while she was in that position.”

On Monday, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the ruling State Administration Council, as the junta calls itself, extended by six months the state of emergency he declared after last year’s military takeover.

He has said elections will be held next year but few believe it will be free or fair.

Announcing more time was needed to prepare for the polls, he said in a speech that the military had tried its “utmost to discharge [its] responsibilities” since it seized control.

“However, terrorists based inside and outside the country and the people and organisations supporting them are committed to the utter devastation of Myanmar, instead of trying to nurture democracy in Myanmar,” he said.

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ASEAN has been unable to reign in the junta with a five-point consensus unveiled 16 months ago.

Myanmar won’t have a delegate at the Cambodia meeting but United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to attend.

China and Russia, who have been major arms suppliers to the Myanmar military, will also be represented, with their foreign ministers Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov expected to be in Phnom Penh.

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