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Where Myanmar Sends Its Political Prisoners


The prison was already packed, its population more than double its 5,000-person capacity. Recent prisoners include two American journalists and an Australian economic adviser. Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters have also been crammed in, some with fresh gunshot wounds.

For 134 years, Insein Prison has stood as a monument to brutality and authoritarian rule in Myanmar. Built by British colonizers to help subjugate the population, the pizza-shaped penitentiary became infamous for its harsh conditions and the torture of prisoners during a half-century of military dictatorship.

Now, with the Myanmar military back in control after a Feb. 1 coup, the aging prison has become a central part of the continuing crackdown against the pro-democracy movement in the Southeast Asian nation. The junta has detained more than 4,300 people since February, according to a rights group. The primary destination has been Insein, the most prominent of 56 penitentiaries.


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