(CNN) -- If it were not for the powerful stench and desperate shouts emanating from the wire cages, the men sitting in rows, each wearing a white skull cap, look like they could be at a prayer meeting.
But for the 276 Rohingya men sitting on the floor of two cells designed to hold just 15 people each, their situation is about as far away from a mosque as it gets -- that was the scene, vividly described and shown in an a report by British news network and CNN affiliate, Channel 4.
Appearing to have barely enough room to sit, some of the men reportedly had swollen feet and withered leg muscles from a lack of exercise and had not moved from the cage in five months.
According to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), the men are among 1,700 ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar -- formerly known as Burma -- who are being held in appalling conditions in Thai immigration detention centers in Thailand's Phang Nga province and filmed secretly by the news team from Channel 4.
Tens of thousands of ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar's Arakan State have already fled persecution amid ongoing sectarian violence between the majority Buddhist Arakanese and the Muslim Rohingya.