Par Iang (not her real name) just found out she was pregnant with her fourth child when she had to flee her village in Myanmar. “My brother’s son was arrested and imprisoned for being in the CNF. I visited him at the prison, giving him food and support. After that they accused me of being involved with the CNF. Even though I was pregnant, I had to run”.

In Malaysia, she stayed in a flat together with others from her community. In October of 2006, there was a raid by RELA and the Immigration at 2.30 in the morning. Without papers, she was bundled into a lorry and bought to the police station. HA was six and a half months pregnant. She spent a month in Lenggeng detention centre before being brought to court and sentenced, where she was then transferred to Kajang prison to serve the rest of her sentence. And where she gave birth to her daughter.

Kajang prison had some concessions to pregnant women. They went for pre-natal visits once a week to the Kajang General Hospital, where she eventually gave birth to her baby. After her birth, she was transferred to a cell with less inmates (3 instead of 11), and she now had a bed to sleep on. The doctor gave her milk powder, and the prison guards gave her disposable diapers for her baby. There was a special nurse for babies born in the prison.

But still it was a very difficult time for her. “I had chains while giving birth”, Par Iang gestured and told me how her right hand was handcuffed to the bed during her labour and delivery. “I felt so bad”.

She gave birth at around 6 in the morning, and by 5 pm the same day, she was discharged and back in prison. She was not given extra food before or after her delivery. “When I got back to prison I had no energy. I had no milk from my breasts. After three days, the baby was turning yellow. It was difficult because I cannot speak Malay. Eventually the doctor gave me milk.”

“I cried a lot, thinking about the condition my baby was in. They gave 4 disposable diapers – 2 during the day and 2 at night. It was not enough but I had to keep them on. They didn’t give me soap or extra clothing. My clothes were often soiled with urine and excrement from the baby but I could not change.”

“They look down on Myanmar people so much. They say Myanmarese are crazy people, stupid people. That made me so upset. But I am the mother of my child. I love her, and that gave me the energy and spirit to go on living.”

With the help of the UNCHR, Par Iang was released 3 weeks after giving birth to KA. Recently, her husband made the journey to Malaysia with her other children. They are finally reunited.