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Myanmar captives ' kept in squalor'

  • Story Highlights
  • Myanmar political prisoners kept in squalid living conditions, activist tells CNN
  • Hundreds being held following crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations
  • Some prisoners "forced to stand shoulder to shoulder, unable to lie down"
  • CNN is unable to independently verify reports due to reporting restrictions
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From CNN's Tess Eastment
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Hundreds of political prisoners locked in a Myanmar police compound are facing squalid living conditions following a massive government crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations staged in late September, a political activist leader hiding in Yangon told CNN by phone.

Nilar Thein -- a key leader in the Myanmar-based group '88 Generation -- reported at least 900 detainees are being held in Mohbyee police compound in the country's biggest city, Yangon.

Myanmar's secretive military government has placed restricted access on journalists and CNN cannot independently verify the report.

Included among the detainees are members of the '88 Generation group and National League for Democracy -- the party of detained Myanmar pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, he said.

According to Thein, imprisoned 88 Generation members have described being kept in cramped conditions in small rooms, with some standing shoulder to shoulder, unable to lie down. Prisoners have also reported a lack of toilets, clean water and adequate food supplies.

Some detainees have been locked up since Sept. 28, while others have been picked up as recently as Oct. 1. The arrests were made after peaceful protest marches led by widely respected Buddhist monks ballooned into mass demonstrations.

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The monks took to the streets in August to protest the increase in fuel prices. Members of the '88 Generation group were involved in the marches.

In September, the opposition Web site The Irrawaddy -- which operates out of Thailand -- reported Nilar Thein and other 88-Generation leaders and prominent activists were being hunted down by the regime and have retreated into hiding. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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