Warden suspended after prison skirmish
The warden of Myingyan Prison in Mandalay Region has been suspended following a melee that erupted yesterday morning between inmates and guards.
THE warden of Myingyan Prison in Mandalay Region has been suspended following a melee that occurred yesterday morning between inmates and penitentiary guards.
The violent clash was sparked when inmates objected to one of their own being ordered into solitary confinement following an argument with the head of the cell block.
According to U Min Soe Tun, a spokesperson for the Prisons Department, the rioting occurred in part due to the weakness of leaders in the prison’s administration, hence the decision to suspend the prison’s warden.
A new warden has already been assigned to the prison and an investigation into the incident is under way, he added.
The unrest began at 7am yesterday morning and continued for around three hours.
“By 10am, the situation was stable. The prisoner who started the incident is behind bars for murder. He was sent to us after he committed another murder while incarcerated at Thayawady Prison,” U Min Soe Tun told The Myanmar Times.
U Tun Kyi, secretary of the Political Prisoner Affairs Committee at the Association of Former Political Prisoners, said the main causes of rioting in prisons are oppression, corruption, financial disputes and human rights abuses.
He called for reforms to Myanmar’s prison system.
“A person’s situation in prison depends on money. If an inmate can pay money, their situation is different. If they can’t, they are punished or treated unfairly, often in breach of their human rights,” U Tun Kyi said.
“Riots occur because of oppression by prison officers,” he added.
Further describing the situation in a typical prison, U Tun Kyi said inmates had to contribute money to the prison to pay for building repairs, the construction of offices or the purchase of a TV for a common area. Those who could not afford to contribute, he said, were forced to stay in cramped and uncomfortable cells, with up to 70 inmates staying in a room designed for 50.
“More state funds should be spent on prisons instead of collecting money from prisoners. Changes to the food, showering and clothing of prisoners should be made,” he said. “I know the real circumstances faced by inmates as I was detained in Myingyan Prison myself.”