Prison labor in Buthidaung jail

Buthidaung, Arakan State: Rohingya prisoners are being used as forced labor by concerned authorities in Buthidaung jail since second week of last month, said a released prisoner from the Jail preferring not to be named.
“The Rohingya prisoners, who had been arrested in riot, are being used as prison labor in harvesting by the authorities of Buthidaung jail.”

In the morning, the prisoners are brought to the paddy fields for harvesting after feeding little food by the authorities and whole day they have to work in the paddy fields. But, they have to return with the bundles of paddy in the evening, said a relative of a prisoner that he knew from a police aide of the jail.

Later, they have to thresh or separate paddy from ears of paddy by legs or hands. During the threshing the paddy, bleeding is going out from their legs and hands.

In Arakan State, after harvesting the paddy, cows are used to separate the paddy from ears of paddy, but Rohingyas are being used to separate paddy from ears of paddy. Though the authorities have cows for threshing the paddy, they don’t give permission to use cows, according to a reliable source.

The source also said that many Rohingya prisoners are being half-fed and have been suffering from lack of medicine, and hygienic conditions in jail.

Besides, the authority mostly discriminated against the religious leaders (Moulana) that their beards had been clean shaved in the jail. However, some of religious leaders disobeyed the order of authorities, so their beards were removed forcibly and also they were severely beaten up by the authority, said another recently released prisoner from the jail.

More than 800 Rohingya prisoners have been languishing in Buthidaung jail since June 2012 who had been arrested during the violence. No one get any bill and is not allowed to borrow lawyer. Recently, some of the prisoners were sentenced to 10 to 20 years imprisonment without any proper query and any documents.

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