THE people of Myanmar have previously told of their torturous existence after the military takeover – but that barely touches the surface for those trapped in the country’s jails.
Prisoners are sadistically beat with cement-filled sticks, forced to hop like frogs for hours on end and deprived of sleep, food and water.
The disturbing reality of life behind bars exposes the insatiable nature of the military’s thirst for blood – forcing them to convert community halls and a royal palace into interrogation centres to accommodate the number of inmates.
From 16-year-old girls to ageing monks, the revised legal system pulls no punches and has saw human rights fly out of the window.
A harrowing investigation by Associated Press revealed the extent of the torturous regime, as 28 people imprisoned and released in recent months shared their stories.
They told how the military often favour traditional torture methods – but the violence has now become the worst it’s ever been in scale and severity, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
The organisation, which monitors deaths and arrests, say 1,218 people have been killed – including at least 131 prisoners tortured to death – since February.
Shocking images show the effects of unspeakable abuse inflicted upon prisoners that a forensic pathologist concluded were the result of “very systematic and forceful” beatings.
The suffering typically begins on the streets or in local’s homes, with some reportedly dying before they even reach the interrogation centre.
Those who survive are subjected to further ruthless interogation tactics – threatened with guns, given electric shocks and brutal beatings.
After intense international pressure, the military announced they would pardon 1,316 people and drop charges against another 4,320 protestors.
But over 100 were re-arrested within hours of their release last week.
Former political prisoner and AAPP’s joint secretary, Ko Bo Kyi, told AP: “The military tortures detainees, first for revenge, then for information.”
One former prisoner told how he was zapped with a taser, taunted with a knife and attacked with iron rods during his 12-hour interrogation.
When officers learned he could not swim, they reportedly threw him into a lake, handcuffed with a bag on his head before yanking him out.
He says he was only freed after signing a statement saying that he had never been tortured.
Another said his cellmate’s genitals were repeatedly smashed between a brick and the boot of his interrogator.
The military, known as the Tatmadaw, can easily conceal their crimes – even forcing doctors to falsify autopsy reports, according to AP.
They allegedly stick rubber pads on prisoners to minimise brusing or inflict pain in areas that damage is hard to detect.
Some prisoners give up false confessions in a bid to get the torture to stop and have to pledge obedience to the military before they can leave.
Others with the right connections say they managed to pay their way to freedom.
Former army captain Lin Htet Aung claimed “torture, violence and sexual assaults” are commonplace in prisons after the military coup earlier this year.
He said military personnel use any means necessary to get information from detainees threatening to cripple the new order.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL TORTURE
Women constantly fear rape and sexual assault in the hellhole facilities – as drunk guards shout taunts into their cells during the night.
A woman said she had to take sleeping pills for three months upon her release and “cried everyday” after her ordeal.
Former inmates said a 13-year-old fainted at least six times when she was arrested – but instead of calling a doctor, guards sprayed the child with water.
Prisoners claimed they are forced to live in ghastly overcrowded conditions in cells infested with cockroaches.
Most are said to have to sleep on tough concrete floors and drink dirty water from a shared toilet, while defecating in plastic bags or a communal bucket.
The lack of sanitation and social distancing proved the perfect breeding ground for Covid, seeing the deadly virus sweep through the cramped cells.
One branded the soldiers “monsters” after they reportedly stomped on him and said he would rather die than return to the jail.
Several inmates have been pictured on state TV with bruised faces.
Those who are released from the detention centers live with the “mental torture” and fear of being followed by the military.
The “methodical and systemic” methods of torture used by the military have implanted stern fear in locals, who remain scared to speak out.