Rights envoy visits Myanmar jail

UN rights investigator begins probe into crackdown on anti-government protests.

    Insein jail on the outskirts of Yangon has been used to to hold scores of political prisoners [File: EPA]

    On Monday Pinheiro spent at least two hours in Insein jail, a facility that has held scores of political prisoners in recent years.


    Former inmates have described torture, poor conditions and long stretches in solitary confinement during their time in the jail.


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    The UN has given no details of the visit.


    Also on Monday Pinheiro visited a Buddhist monastery raided by troops during September's crackdown on anti-government protests.


    Pinheiro also met with officials at the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Home Affairs Ministry where he discussed his proposed visits to prisons.


    A proposed itinerary was given to Myanmar's military rulers before the visit began on Sunday, but it was still being "fine-tuned," said Aye Win, the UN spokesman in Myanmar.


    Pinheiro has a history of difficult relations with Myanmar's ruling generals and has not visited the country in four years.


    He abruptly cut short a visit in March 2003 after finding a listening device in a prison room where he was interviewing political detainees.


    He has been barred from the country since November 2003.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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