Thursday, 28 May 2020

Buthidaung, Arakan State: The Burmese military junta released 150 prisoners including 20 Rakhines from Buthidaung jail on September 23 evening, according to a released prisoner.


The state media announced on September 23, that 9002 prisoners would be freed so they would take part in the elections in 2010. The move comes on the first anniversary of massive  anti-junta protests.


According to another released prisoner, there are about 1,250 prisoners including Bangladeshis in Buthidaung jail. Of them 150 prisoners were released on September 23. There are another 1100 prisoners in jail. 


The jailor of Buthidaung jail gave Kyat 1000, and Tactical Operation Commands Commander of Buthidaung gave Kyat 2000 to each prisoner as traveling allowance.


Everyday, about 400 prisoners are taken out of the jail to work in paddy fields and other vegetable farms. They have to grow paddy, brinjal, tomatoes, species of amaranth and other vegetables. They are shackled while working in the fields.  Those working in the jail compound have to grow many kinds of vegetables. There is no one without work except Bangladeshi prisoners.


The prisoners are mostly from Maungdaw, Buhidaung, Rathedaung, and Akyab     (Sittwe) Townships. Some prisoners who were arrested in Rangoon and Akyab were also transferred to Buthidaung jail. For instance, the family members of U Kyaw Min alias Master Anwar, the MP of NDPH and Lord Khobir's family members are in Buthidaung jail.


Six released prisoners met a Kaladan Press reporter and said they were jailed for four and-a-half years for marrying without taking permission from authorities. They were released three months earlier. According to their jail term, they were to be released on December 2008.


There are about 128 acres of land, of them 64 acres of land were seized from neighbouring villagers and the rest 64 acres  have been borrowed  from farmers. There are six tractors and six pairs of bullock to till the land.


Prisoners are given lunch at about 11:30 am and dinner at 5:30 pm. The prisoners have to go out for work at 7 am and return at 11 am for lunch. Again, they go to the work site for the second time at around 1:30 pm and have to come back at 5:00 pm for dinner. The food is very poor, so the prisoners are weakening day by day. But, prisoners have to work the whole day with inadequate food, according to released prisoners.