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Burmese Government Denies Role in Bugging Prison Interviews - 2003-03-25


Burma's military government says it did not approve the placing of a hidden listening device in a room where a U.N. envoy was interviewing Burmese political prisoners.

The envoy, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil, said he found a wireless microphone under a table in an interview room at Rangoon's Insein prison. In a statement released today (Tuesday), Burma's foreign ministry apologized for what happened, saying Rangoon is investigating the matter.

The U.N. envoy, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil, left Rangoon Monday. He told reporters he was angry, unhappy and frustrated after finding a wireless microphone under a table in an interview room at Rangoon's Insein prison.

Mr. Pinheiro filed an official protest with Burma's military government. He said Rangoon promised him private access to the political prisoners and that it would not interfere with the proceedings.

Mr. Pinheiro was making his fifth visit to Burma to assess the human rights situation. He was gathering facts to update a report on Burma that he will deliver to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva next week.

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