Burma Campaign UK today called for the NLD-led government to abide by the United Nations ruling that Lahpai Gam is detained illegally and release him immediately.
Lahpai Gam was arrested in June 2012 by the military-backed government in Burma. He was charged under Article 17/1 of the Unlawful Association Act, and he was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
He was brutally tortured and forced to make a false confession about his connection with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and different bombings in Kachin State. He was also accused of leaving the refugee camp several times to attend military training sessions with the KIA. According to his wife, during the interrogations, he was repeatedly kicked, beaten till his scalp was cut open and forced to drink water mixed with fuel. He was also forced to have sexual intercourse with another male prisoner.
After more than a year in detention, he was sentenced to 2 years prison in November 2013, and an additional 5 years were added to his sentence on 19th December 2013. An additional 14 years were added again to his sentence on 5th June 2014, and now he is serving a 21-year prison sentence in Myitkyina Prison.
In November 2013, a United Nations ruling stated that the detention of Lahpai Gam is arbitrary, contravening of Articles 13, 18, 19 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They have also called for the immediate release of Lahpai Gam and for adequate reparation.
“Lahpai Gam is a Kachin farmer who was brutally tortured and sentenced to 21 years in jail for something he did not do,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “He was targeted simply because he is a Christian and he belongs to the minority Kachin ethnic group. The UN has already ruled that the detention of Lahpai Gam is illegal but he still remains in jail. The NLD-led government must abide by the UN ruling and release Lahpai Gam immediately.”