Rohingya in Akyab Jail dies after beating and torture

Source from Kaladan Press, 16 July 2011

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Zawhir Ahmed, a 65-year-old Rohingya prisoner in Akyab (Sittwe) Jail, died on July 14 following beatings and torture, according to another prisoner from the jail on condition of anonymity.

“He was beaten by some Natala (model) villagers who are also serving sentences in the jail,” the prisoner said.

“The Natala villagers and Zawhir had a tense relationship inside the jail, as he was a ward in charge of the prisoners when an accident happened on July 12.”

“The Natala villagers beat him until he became unconsciousness. The jailers kept him in the jail for two days. Finally, the jail authorities sent him to the Akyab General Hospital after he became in a serious condition,” said a relative of Zawhir. “He died at the hospital at 10:30 a.m. shortly after being admitting the hospital.”

“The Natala villagers and the jail authorities also jointly beat him, but this has not been confirmed,” the relative said.

The Rohingya from Akyab rushed to the hospital to see the dead body of Zawhir, but the authorities did not allow the people to enter the hospital. The authorities handed over the dead body to the Rohingya community leaders to bury, said an elder from Akyab.

“The family members of Zawhir were not able to join the funeral function in Akyab, as the members need to obtain permission to travel to Akyab, which is not easy for members of the Rohingya community.”

Zawhir Ahmed, alias Bogyi Zahir, a collaborator of former junta authorities, was arrested because of his connection with former Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt. He was sentenced to a 65-year jail term.

Authorities have brought the Natala (model) villagers from central Burma, Bangladesh, and other parts of Arakan State to northern Arakan (Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung) who are addicts, criminals, prisoners, and sex workers. The authorities keep the Natala villagers between two Rohingya villages. There are often clashes between the two groups.

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