Sunday, October 28, 2007

Interview with U Tayzabawtha, a Former Detainee

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

Monks who have been released from detention told DVB that junta's disrespect and cruel treatment of sangha was beyond forgiveness. They added that the Ministry of Religious Affairs was committing yet another sin by telling fabricated lies (to excuse their actions) to the Sangha Council. These monks also felt that the monks of the Council are at fault for not seeing through the junta, and accepting their lies.

In the next few weeks, DVB will be conducting interviews with monks who have been released, and will be broadcasting them. In today's article, DVB interviewed U Tayzabawtha from Pegu. U Tayzabawtha was arrested on 26th of September and was only released Thursday.

DVB: How did you get started in the protests?
U Tayzabawtha: We heard about Pakokku. So we went over there to check out the situation; three monks were tied down, beaten and arrested. We came back and sent a request to junta asking for lower petrol and diesel prices. We told them that if the transport fees go up, commodity prices will go up, and asked them to do something about it. But they didn't back down. So we went out on the streets on the 18th. After that, we took a break. During that period, we sent the request again but no response came. So from 24th to 26th, I organised some rallies. On the 26th, I was arrested in front of Sule Pagoda."

DVB: How did they try to defrock you?
U Tayzabawtha: It was at the racecourse. They brought some monks from the Sangha Council. But I told them they cannot defrock me without my will so they left. Later though, I was forced to change into civilian clothes by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The police stood by with sticks. I had no choice. But I still comported myself as a sangha. I also did not eat anything they (riot police) gave me.. the whole month. I was on hunger strike against them. Occasionally, the prison officers offered me some food during interrogation, such as porridge or instant noodles, and I took it.

DVB: Did they assault you verbally or physically?
U Tayzabawtha: Not me but some of the other monks were assaulted. They beat them up. Not the guys interrogating, but the ones who arrested us.

DVB: Were you handcuffed or foot-chained?
U Tayzabawtha: Yes, we were handcuffed behind our backs, and our feet were also chained. From GTI, we were transferred to Palae. We were allowed to sleep after we reached there. The conditions were very bad. The place was buzzing with mosquitoes, and there were no blankets.

DVB: Could you tell us what you witnessed regarding the treatment of the monks?
U Tayzabawtha: They beat the monks. They always had their sticks at the ready. At GTI, at the Racecourse, and the Unit 8 Camp. They are inhuman. They have no compassion whatsoever.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

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