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Student union history writer freed

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Aung Tun, leader of the All Burma Federation of Students Union (ABFSU), who penned the history of the ‘Burmese Student Movement’ was released from Tharyawady prison in Pegu Division on September 18 after serving a prison term for over 11 years.

He is among the 7114 prisoners granted amnesty by the military regime.

“He was arrested in 1998. Now he is at his home,” the Thai based Association of Assistance to Political Prisoners – Burma’ (AAPP-B) Secretary Teit Naing said.

Aung Tun was charged under section 5(j) of the Emergency Provisions Act and sentenced to 17 years in prison on 17 February 1998 for compiling the 88-year long history under the title ‘The history of Burmese Students movement – 1903-1991’. Section 5(j) is usually used against political activists by the regime.

The 42-year old former Rangoon Institute of Technology student Aung Tun was a leader of RIT Student Union and took part in student movements in 1988-99.

He served as a secretariat member of ABFSU (Lower Burma) in 1990 April when it was formed. And in 1990, he was elected as secretariat member of ABFSU at its conference held in Mandalay.

In the Mandalay conference, the line of ‘rallying around the election winning National League for Democracy (NLD) party’ was adopted to help them convene Parliament within 30 days. He was one of the student leaders in this movement.

When ABFSU led the pre-Gandhi Hall NLD movement in 1990, he led this movement also. After the Gandhi Hall Conference, he was arrested on 1 September along with other student leaders and was sentenced to 5 years in prison on 28 October that year.

After being released from prison, he was readmitted and completed his study at the RIT on 1997.

He then started compiling the book ‘The History of Student Movement in Burma’.  He was arrested again in January 1998 for distribution of the book and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

The 700-page history book was published by ABFSU Foreign Affairs Committee in April 2007.

Aung Tun was awarded Hallman/Hammett Grant in 1999. This award is given to honour the politically oppressed writers around the world.

Member countries of world writers club ‘International Pen’; Norway, Canberra and Canada declared Aung Tun as an honourary member of their organizations.

(Reported by Salai Han Thar San)

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 September 2009 13:31 )  

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