Myanmar Junta: 'You Are No Longer Monks'

Prisoners recount abject conditions after peaceful protests
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2007 12:09 PM CDT
In this photo made available by Democratic Voice of Burma, Buddhist monks survey the situation after an early morning raid Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007 by security forces on their monasteries. Truckloads...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Buddhist monks rounded up in protests in Myanmar faced torturous conditions, a recent detainee told Reuters. During days of interrogation, monks were beaten and denied medical treatment, water, and toilets. Prisoners were stripped of their iconic robes. “You are no longer a monk,” a guard told the prisoner, slapping him. “You are just an ordinary man with a shaven head.”

The monks, whom the Burmese revere as moral authorities, have been held for weeks in makeshift jails, after they led waves of peaceful protests against the military government. Many prisoners refused food; those who took it were forced to eat with their bare hands. One detainee has reportedly died while guards tortured him for information on movement ringleaders.