- A team from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission comprising of Members U Zaw Win and Dr. Nyan Zaw accompanied by two staff members visited the prison, police lock-up and district hospital guard ward in Hkamti township of Sagaing Region on the 18 and 19 February 2016. The team interviewed (18) male inmates and (20) female inmates, also (13) detainees both male and female and (1) foreigner.
The findings of the investigation team
- The findings were as follows:
(a) Hkamti Prison
(i) As the Hkamti prison is a “C” category type prison, the capacity is (300) inmates but it was found out that there are (688) inmates at the present point in time. The male ward has an area of (3828) square feet and with the minimum standard of (6’ x 3’ = 18 square feet) it can accommodate (424) inmates. At the present there are (449) inmates. The detention ward has a capacity of (1848) square feet and with the minimum standard of (6’ x 3’ = 18 square feet) it can accommodate (204) detainees. However only the upstairs floors is used to hold (122) detainees while the ground floor is used as a store room and generator room.
(ii) In 2015 (10) inmates died of various diseases and in 2016 there was one death.
(iii) During the fourth quarter of 2015, (557) male inmates and (55) female inmates were on the list of prisoners eligible for special probation but (76) inmates still have to be examined and included in the list.
(iv) The windows of the male ward have no hinges, with the result that in the rainy season, the ward is exposed to lashing of rain and illness can occur due to the dampness of the ward.
(v) The (15) inmates who tried to break out from the prison were kept in solitary confinement and shackled. Because the inmates were unable to do any exercise, the hands and feet of some inmates were suffering from aches and numbness.
(vi) Meals were served in plastic buckets to the inmates. In the long run, it can be detrimental to the health of the inmates.
(vii) The meals were cooked in ordinary iron tanks and the floorings and brick foundations of the kitchen were decayed and full of holes.
(viii) The prison is in need of one assistant medical officer and (9) prison employees.
(ix) It was found out the the district hospital of Khante has one guard ward for male inmates but the female inmates are hospitalized together with the other women patients.
(b) Hkamti Myoma Police Lock up
(i) It was found out that the entrance to the Police lock up is only four feet high and the detainees have to bend down to enter the lock up. The foot wears were all stacked at the entrance and a very bad odour permeates the room.
(ii) The latrine in the male lock up was piled up with unnecessary materials.
(iii) It was found out that inmate Daw Aye Yar, accused of drug offence suffered wounds to the face and head when she resisted the arrest by the Anti-Drugs Unit.
(iv) One of the detainees complained that he is under age, that he was innocent and that he attended school up to seventh standard.
- The recommendations are as follows:
(a) Hkamti Prison
(i) Because of the over capacity of the inmates the male inmates sleeping quarters, the generator and store room should be expanded accordingly.
(ii) Administrative matters must be properly managed to prevent deaths in the prison.
(iii) The remaining (76) inmates should be assessed and included in the list of special pardon inmates.
(iv) Doors or windows hinged at the top must be installed in the male inmates’ quarters.
(v) Shackling inmates in the prison should be made in line with the Prison Manual and time should be scheduled for exercises.
(vi) The front timber-doors, water-storage tank, the floorings and brick walls of the five-room solitary confinement quarters should be repaired.
(vii) Meals should be served in steel or metal containers and the kitchen should also be repaired.
(viii) Arrangement should be made to appoint a prison medical officer.
(ix) In the Hkamti hospital, accommodation for guard ward for female inmates should be made.
(b) Hkamti Myoma Police lock up
(i) The height of the entrances of the police lock up should be raised up to (6) feet.
(ii) Arrangement should be made for cleanliness and good odour in the male lock up.
(iii) To investigate the incident where a female detainee suffered wounds when she was arrested and to take steps to prevent future occurrences.
(iv) To obtain the recommendation for age and moral character of the detainee who claimed that he is under age and to take actions as necessary in line with the Child Law.
Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
Date: 29 February 2016