BURMA: Ailing human rights defender transferred to another prison


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-044-2010
ISSUES: Judicial system, Military, Rule of law,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is deeply concerned by the transfer of Ma Sandar, an ailing human rights defender convicted on fabricated charges, to another prison without the knowledge of her family. Her family has lost contact with her and do not know where she is presently being held.


We have asked in our previous appeal (AHRC-UAU-019-2010), that Ma Sandar, a human rights defender; and her husband, Ko Zaw Min Htun, who had been convicted for 18 months imprisonment in 7 May 2010 over fabricated charges, to be released. The couple was targeted for fabricated prosecution for helping an accident victim complain about the lack of medical treatment at a township hospital.

Ma Sandar has been suffering from difficulty of eating due to stomach problems and hepatic disease. Her health condition at the Insein Prison before her transfer had already been bad due to lack of medical attention.

Ma Sandar’s son-in-law, Hein Min Latt, found out about her transfer on November 13 because she was no longer at the Insein prison when he went to visit her. When interviewed by the DVB, he said none of their family members were informed of her transfer. He inquired from the prison authorities; however, they refused to give any details.

In the same interview Hein Min Latt said: “I was given only a paper in which they wrote ‘To Mandalay, central part of Burma”. When I have tried to contact Mandalay prison, prison authorities said that they don’t have any right to talk about her. We don’t know where she is now and she seems to have disappeared”.

The AHRC has already launched a campaign webpage on Ma Sandar’s case. http://masandarburma.blogspot.com/.

Please write to the persons listed below to take immediate action on the case of Ma Sandar.

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar and the independence of judges and lawyers, as well as the UN Special Representative on human rights defenders and the regional human rights office for Southeast Asia, calling for interventions into this case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER



BURMA: Ailing human rights defender transferred to another prison

I am deeply concerned about the bad health condition of Ma Sandar who was recently transferred from Insein Prion to another prison not known to her family. Her family was not informed of her transfer and neither do they know where she is presently held. Ma Sandar and her husband, Ko Zaw Min Htun, are serving 18 months prison terms after they were convicted on 7 May 2010 on a fraudulent case. They were targeted for fabricated charges for helping an accident victim complain about the lack of treatment at a township hospital.

Ma Sandar has been suffering from difficulty of eating due to stomach problem and hepatic disease. Her transfer to another prison was discovered by her son-in-law, Hein Min Latt, while he was visiting her at the Insein prison but did not see her there. The transfer took place o November 13; however, none of her family members were informed.

I would like to remind the Government of Myanmar that informing family members of a prisoner about their transfer to another prisoner is a minimum requirement under the United Nation’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The Rule stipulates that “every prisoner shall have the right to information at once his family of his imprisonment or his transfer to another institution”.

Prior to her transfer, Ma Sandar had already complained about the poor condition of the Insein Prison facility. On one occasion, the prison authorities assaulted her and ignored her request to have her temporarily transferred to another cell when she complained about difficulty of breathing due to bad smell of human excreta inside her cell. She also mentioned that prison guards were intimidating her when they get drunk on duty.

Under UN Standard Minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.

15. Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.

35. (3) every prisoner shall be allowed to make a request or complaint, without censorship as to substance but in proper form, to the central prison administration, the judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels.

Ma Sandar has already made a complain about this to the Ministry of Home Affairs and to General Than Swe, head of State, no they did not take any action.

I am deeply concerned that the transfer of Ma Sandar to another prison could aggravate her health condition because her family, who had been assisting in her treatment due to absence of medical facilities in the prison, could no longer visit to see her. I am aware that the healthcare system in prisons is inadequate, especially the jails in remote areas.

In addition, in the report of Mr Thomas Ojea Quintana, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar during the general assembly on 15 of September 2010, he stated about having repeatedly reminding the Government of its responsibility to protect, afford proper treatment, adequate food and medical care for those held in detention in accordance with the universally accepted standards.

I urge the government of Myanmar to immediately inform the family members of Ma Sandar about the present location of her prison. She should also be afforded immediate medical attention. Her complaints about the poor condition of the prison and the abused by prison guards should also be acted upon.

Yours sincerely,


1. Maj-Gen. (Retd.) Maung Oo 
Minister for Home Affairs 
Ministry of Home Affairs 
Office No. 10 
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 
Tel: + 95 1 372 681 
Fax: + 95 1 652 624

3. U Aung Toe 
Chief Justice 
Office of the Supreme Court 
Office No. 24 
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 
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 
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663 
Fax: +951 549 663 / 549 208

6. Dr. Kyaw Myint 
Minister of Health 
Ministry of Health 
Office No. 4 
Tel: +95 67 411 381/ 411 163 / 411 353 
Fax: +95 67 411 004/ 411 016 
Email: dmkm@health.gov.mm

7. Prof. Kyaw Myint Naing 
Myanmar Medical Association 
249 Theinbyu Road 
Tel: +95 1 278 863/ 380899/ 388 097/ 394 141 
Fax: +95 1 378 863 
Email: mma.org@mptmail.net.mm

Thank you.

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

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-044-2010
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Campaigns : Free Ma Sandar
Issues : Judicial system, Military, Rule of law,