Annual Report 2009: AAPP Political Prisoner Review

Summary of current situation and analysis

As of 31 December there were a total of 2,177 political prisoners in Burma. This is an overall increase of 15 in comparison to last year’s figure of 2,162. In 2009, 264 political prisoners were arrested and 266 were released. AAPP also received information about activists who were arrested and released before 2009, and this retroactive information explains why there is actually an overall increase of 15 during the course of 2009.

These include:

CATEGORY               31 December 2008     31 December 2009

Monks                                         223                                 251
MPs                                                16                                   12
Students                                      272                                286
Women                                        187                                 178
NLD members                           482                                 430
Members of HRDP                     39                                    34
Ethnic nationalities                204                                 208
Cyclone Nargis volunteers       20                                   30
Teachers                                       25                                    27
Media activists                           44                                    41
Lawyers                                        14                                    11
In poor health                           117                                 129

Since the protests in August 2007 leading to September’s Saffron Revolution, a total of 1,167 activists have been arrested and are still in detention. In 2009, 264 political prisoners were arrested,129activists were sentenced, 266 were released, and 71 prisoners were transferred. At least 48 political prisoners reported new health symptoms in 2009, bringing the total number of political prisoners in poor health to 129 as of 31 December 2009. This is due to harsh prison conditions, transfers to remote prisons where there are no doctors, and denial of proper medical care.


Political prisoners in Burma continued to suffer in 2009. Despite positive signs such as the international community’s sustained condemnation of the military junta’s human rights abuses, and visits to Burma by numerous key international dignitaries and diplomats, over 2,100 political prisoners remain imprisoned across Burma. As detailed in AAPP’s May 2009 report, Burma’s Prisons and Labour Camps: Silent Killing Fields, inadequate medical care, systematic torture, long-term imprisonment, transfers to remote prisons and denial of healthcare have led to a growing health crisis for political prisoners in Burma. As of 31 December 2009, there were 129 political prisoners in poor health, and during the course of the year at least 71 political prisoners were subjected to prison transfers. With national elections expected to take place in 2010 despite the ongoing detention of prominent political leaders such as NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, AAPP views the release of all political prisoners in Burma as a necessary step towards national reconciliation, and the creation of a free and democratic Burma.

Tate Naing +66(0) 812 878 751
Bo Kyi +66(0) 813 248 935

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)

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