Myanmar’s Rohingya minority faces prison and torture after riots

By Robin Mcdowell, AP

BA GONE NAR, Myanmar–Noor Jaan lifted her black Islamic veil and recalled the last time she saw her husband. He was among more than 600 Rohingya Muslim men thrown in jail in this remote corner of Myanmar during a ruthless security crackdown that followed sectarian violence, and among one in 10 who didn’t make it out alive.

Jaan said that when she visited the jail, the cells were crammed with men, hands chained behind their backs, several stripped naked. Many showed signs of torture. Her husband, Mohammad Yasim, was doubled over, vomiting blood, his hip bone shattered.

“We were all crying so loudly the walls of the prison could have collapsed,” the 40-year-old widow said.

“They killed him soon after that,” she said of her husband. Her account was corroborated by her father, 10-year-old son and a neighbor. “Other prisoners told us soldiers took his corpse and threw it in the forest.

“We didn’t even have a chance to see his body.”

The sectarian violence that has gripped this predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million in the last 16 months has been most intense in the western state of Rakhine, where 200 people have been killed in rioting and another 140,000 forced to flee their homes. Three-quarters of the victims have been Muslims — most of them members of the minority Rohingya community — but it is they who have suffered most at the hands of security forces.