Monday, 18 November 2019

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Three political prisoners released

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Three Burmese political prisoners who had served their full sentences were released on Wednesday.

Writer Aung Kyaw San, the publisher of the Myanmar Tribune, was released from Taunggyi Prison in Shan State; veterinary surgeon Dr. Nay Win was released from Hpaan Prison in Karen State; and Phone Pyace Kywe was released from Sittwe Prison in Arakan State.

They were sentenced to two years in prison under section 7 of the Unlawful Association Act by the Insein Prison court, according to Aung Kyaw San, who was arrested for collecting and burying corpses in the aftermath of  Nargis Cyclone.

‘I was sentenced to eight years in prison, but my sentence was reduced’, said Aung Kyaw San.  ‘I served two years and seven months and 11 days including the interrogation period. My detention during the interrogation was not counted. The junta seems flexible, but in fact they have become worse. Political prisoners didn’t get some rights which other prisoners got’, he told Mizzima.

Describing prison conditions, he said reading is allowed in Taunggyi Prison and political prisoners were allowed to watch TV two days per week, but could not watch the news. Other types of prisoners had daily access to TV, he said. 

He said that in 1989, he had been arrested for his political actions, but in 2008 when he  was arrested it was for working on cyclone relief operations, and it was unfair.

He said he was arrested by a Military Affairs Security Unit  on his way from Bogale Township to Rangoon, after burying and cremating the dead bodies of cyclone victims.

While in prison, he said he translated books by Dr. Than Tun, a Burmese historian, and he planned to publish the books, along with some books by Ludu Daw Ah Mar. 

His journal Myanmar Manager was banned in 1996. He published the Myanmar Tribune before his arrest.

He said that among his fellow prisoners were Mya Aye and Jimmy, leaders of the 1988 Generation students; 2007-Generation student leader Kyaw Ko Ko; Taunngyi NLD chairman Kyaw Khin, and Thura Soe and Pe Htoo. He said Mya Aye suffered a heart attack, and was only allowed to consult with an inexperienced doctor.

Veterinary surgeon Dr. Nay Win, 51, said that on his release that he was in good health. In the past, he said he had also been detained, from 1989 to 2004 for his political actions.    

Nay Win that that he planned to do social work and that he wanted the international community to know about the lives of the political prisoners in Burma.

‘The lives of political prisoners are miserable’, he said. ‘They suffered in prisons and labour camps. They are unlawfully charged and unfairly detained. I want the international community to understand it. I want our people to enjoy human rights like the people in democratic countries’.

He said there are 15 political prisoners in Hpaan Prison:  Hlaing Tun, NLD member Nay Kyaw; blogger Nay Phone Latt; NLD member Kyaw Kyaw Naing; Phatapah (Karen National Union); 88-Generation student leader Nyan Lin; cameraman Thant Zin Aung; Nanda Sint Aung (2003 Generation All Burma Federation of Student Unions member; Pyace Phyo Aung of Pathein; Aung Ko Ko Htet of Kalay’ Kyaw Aye of the KNU; Aung Khine; Warti (aka) Ahshaung; and Nyi Nyi Tun (aka) Nga Pyaw Kyaw.

He said Hlaing Tun, who has served an 8-year prison term, has suffered mental illness and Nay Kyaw has suffered from a heart attack and hypertension.

The third released prisoner, Phone Pyace Kywe, who was released from Sittwe Prison, has stayed in Sittwe for two days but has plans to go to Rangoon soon.

Along with the three political prisoners who were released, ABFSU member Phyo Phyo Aung, a daughter of Dr. Nay Win; and Shane Yarzar Tun and Aung Than Zin Oo were also arrested in 2008.

Phyo Phyo Aung, Shane Yarzar Tun and Aung Than Zin Oo were detained for four years in Moulmein Prison in Mon State, in Taungoo Prison in Pegu Division and Bhamo Prison in Kachin State under section 6 and 7 of the Unlawful Association Act.


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