Prisoners allege abuse in Myanmar

Aug. 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A lawyer for two men in the northern Myanmar state of Kachin said his clients were sexually abused by the military before they were brought to trial.

Brang Yong and Lahpai Gum, two Kachin men accused of supporting armed rebels and attacking national interests, appeared before a regional court last week. Their attorney, Boung Mai, told Thai newspaper The Irrawaddy there was no validity to the charges.

"The charges against my clients are baseless," he said Friday. "They were tortured in many brutal ways. It was inhumane."

The attorney says his clients were internally displaced persons feeling unrest in the northern state. Both men were accused of violating laws on association with unlawful groups.

Kachin has been the scene of intermittent conflict between rebel and government forces.

Myanmar marked Thursday as the 25th anniversary of pro-democracy protests squashed violently by the military regime.

Myanmar in 2010 held democratic elections, earning praise from the international community. Violence in Kachin, as well as communal conflict in western Rakhine state, have brought renewed criticism from some members of the human rights community.

The Irrawaddy reports the government has released dozens of prisoners caught up in the fighting in Kachin this year.

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