Thursday, 21 November 2019

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Junta releases former Suu Kyi aide after 14-year prison term

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A former army captain and personal aide to Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released today from Katha prison in Sagaing Division in northwestern Burma after spending more than 14 years in prison, according to a political prisoner aid group in exile.

win_hteinBurma’s ruling military junta arrested Win Htein, now 68, in May 1996, charged him with sending “fabricated and concocted news” to foreign media and handed him the 14-years jail term.

“Yes, he has been released. His release date is even overdue”, Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma general secretary Teik Naing told Mizzima.

Win Htein’s wife refused to answer questions on his release as she was unaware of any further details.

His term was almost continuous. When the regime pardoned 9,002 prisoners in a special amnesty on September 23, 2008, he was released briefly. He gave a radio interview to Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and was rearrested 17 hours later by the regime and would spend nearly two more years in prison.

An Associated Press report today said he had told the DVB: “He could not accept a new constitution that allotted 25 per cent of seats in both houses of parliament to the military and empowered the president to transfer legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military’s commander-in-chief for a year if a state of emergency arose”.

“If we oppose or go against the constitution, we will be sent back to prison,” he was quoted as telling DVB.

Prior to his original arrest he had served as a personal assistant to National League for Democracy (NLD) party vice-chairman Thura Tin Oo and party general secretary Suu Kyi during the 1988 uprising. He was arrested first briefly in 1989 and was tortured under interrogation by military intelligence officers.

The former Burmese Army officer graduated from the Defence Services Academy in 1963 and served at the Ministry of Defence for about five years. He was then discharged in 1977 for his alleged role in a coup attempt against brutal dictator Ne Win by army officers in July 1976.

During the September 2008 amnesty, NLD leaders including journalist Win Tin, Dr. May Win Myint, Khin Maung Swe, Dr. Than Nyein, Thein Naing and Aung Soe Myint were released along with him.


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