In a kind of morbid irony, Insein Prison is pronounced as “Insane Prison,” a fitting name for a penitentiary notorious around the world for its inhumane conditions and torture tactics implemented by the controlling party. Prisoners have, in the past, been both mentally and physically tortured.
Located in the Yangon Division of Yangon (Rangoon), the old capital of Myanmar (Burma), Insein Prison is run by the military junta that controls the country, the State Peace and Development Council, and is largely used to repress political dissidents. It is rumored that Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi was held within its walls on three separate occasions in 2003, 2007, and again in 2009.
According to articles published around the time of Suu Kyi’s imprisonment, a sentence at Insein “could be tantamount to a death sentence” because of the living conditions. Insein has been dubbed “the darkest hell-home in Burma.” “Many people have died when they have been detained in Insein, that’s a proven fact,” one knowledgeable source said.
Prisoners at the top security penitentiary have been forced to sleep on bare concrete, not allowed to shower for weeks at a time, and shackled in heavy chains with metal bars between their legs. With only three doctors for 10,000 inmates in a building made to hold half that number, diseases spread quickly.