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‘I will continue my activities as a member of ABFSU’

(Interview) – Phyo Phyo Aung, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), was arrested while helping villagers in the cyclone-hit delta in 2008. She was released from Mawlamyine Prison in Mon State on Wednesday under Burma’s presidential amnesty. Phyo Phyo Aung and her father Dr. Nay Win had cremated cyclone victims in devastated areas in Bogale Township in Irrawaddy Region in June 2008 and when they returned from Bogale to their home in Rangoon, they were arrested by a Military Affairs Security Unit. Her colleagues Shein Yarzar Tun and Aung Than Zin Oo were also released from Taungoo Prison in Pegu Region and Bhamo Prison in Kachin State respectively on Wednesday. They were sentenced to four years under the Association Act. They served three years and four months. Mizzima correspondent Phanida interviews Phyo Phyo Aung about her political views and the condition of women in Mawlamyine Prison.

ABFSU member Phyo Phyo Aung was released under Burma's presidential amnesty on Wednesday. Photo: AAPPQuestion: Why were you arrested?

Answer: The main reason was that I am a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions. But, I was arrested when I was on my way home after I volunteered in the Nargis-hit area. So, my legal case was related with canvassing.

Q: How do you view this presidential amnesty?

A: I’m glad that many [political prisoners] were included. But, many political prisoners are still in the prisons, so I want them to be released. All political prisoners of the ABFSU were not included. I desperately want Kyaw Ko Ko, Si Thu Maung, D. Nyein Lin, Honey Oo and Ye Myat Hein to be released.

Q: What do you plan to do in the future? Will you be politically active?

A: I have many things to do. ABFSU members including newly released ABFSU members like me have things to do for political prisoners including ABFSU members. So, I will have many duties. I have many ideas. Newly released political prisoners will meet within one or two days. Then I will know the details of what I have to do.

Q: How many ABFSU members have been released?

A: Shein Yarzar Tun and Aung Thant Zin Oo, two who were charged with connected cases. And New Hinin Yi (aka) Noe Noe from Maubin in Irrawaddy Region. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison. I heard that she was also released. Her sister is Thet Thet Aung, an 88-generation student.

Q: What will you do in future?

A: I’m glad that we were released. But I’m also sad, too, because the government should release more political prisoners.

Q: What were the prison conditions like under the new government?

A: Like the prison conditions under the former government. Nothing is different. But, this morning the director said they would change it gradually.

Q: How many female political prisoners are still in Mawlamyine Prison?

A: Two female prisoners who were sentenced under the Unlawful Associations Act are still in the prison. Moe Moe Khine has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. Her husband is ABSDF central committee member Thein San. Kyi Win has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. Her husband has also been imprisoned. They were alleged to have contacted the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army or Karen National Union; I don’t know exactly. I sympathize with them very much. I feel sorry.

Kyi Win from Mawlamyine, who is about 50, is not in good health.  She has suffered from a feminine disorder. According to her health condition, she should be sent to a hospital. Her disease seems to be womb cancer. Blood flows from her womb all the time. Her health condition is serious. Despite the petition, the authorities have not replied.

Q: What else would you like to say?

A: I have many things to say. I want all political prisoners to be released. I want my release to encourage those political prisoners who are still in the prisons. I will continue my activities as a member of ABFSU.
Last Updated ( Friday, 14 October 2011 14:33 )  
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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