Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Burma: Extortion is the name of the game

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A woman was arrested by the police on March 19, for gifts sent by her husband from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She had to part with kyat 100,000 as extortion money for her release, said a close relative of the victim.

The victim was identified as Jahida Begum (30), wife of Amir Hussain, hailing from Sin Thay Pyin village of Loung Don village tract of Maungdaw Township.

The husband of Jahihida sent three wrist watches and two audio cassettes to his family from Saudi Arabia.

On being tipped off at about 4 pm police personnel led by Sergent San Htun from out-post police camp of Loung Don, which was set up near Natala village went to Jahida's house and arrested her. Later she was brought to the police camp and detained till mid night.

However, her relatives had her released after mid night after paying kyat 100,000 to the police officer.

In addition, on March 19, Noor Hussain son of Md Hussain, from Kryat village of Maungdaw Township was arrested by Bawli Bazaar police on the charge that an unknown man had filed a case against him claiming the arrestee owed him money. The arrestee asked the police to call the plaintiff and said "if he really gets money from me, I will give him the money". But police did not call the plaintiff and played for time. The arrestee, sensing the trick of the police, at round 10 pm, asked his relatives to carry kyat 20,000 for the police as bribe for his release, said a local villager.

Moreover, Nur Hussain (35), son of Bin Gha Bi, from Kryat villageof Loung Don village Tract of Maungdaw Township was arrested by police of Bawli Bazar on the same day on March 19, on the allegation that he brought Taka 50,000 from his relatives in Bangladesh recently. He is a poor vegetable vendor, and he had never been to Bangladesh . However, he was released after paying kyat 20,000, according to a relative of the arrestee.

Police in Maungdaw Township make arbitrary arrests of members of the Rohingya community on false and fabricated cases and extort money. They torture the victims until they get the money. Rohingyas are compelled to pay as the have no other alternative. People pay the money because to avoid torture by authorities, said a village elder who preferred not to be named.