Amnesty granted to at least 23 political prisoners
Feb 23, 2009 (DVB)–At least 23 political prisoners are now confirmed to be among the 6316 prisoners released in the Burmese military regime’s latest amnesty, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners and other reports.
Among those released yesterday were Tin Htay and Than Htun from Nyaung Don, who were serving two and four and a half years respectively in Kalay prison in Sagaing division for possession of an illegal VCD of Than Shwe’s daughter’s wedding.
Zaw Naing Htway (also known as Kenneth), the brother of 88 Generation Students leader Marki, was also freed from the four-mile prison labour camp in Taung-ngu.
According to other sources, four Karen villagers from Shwe Kyin-Kyauk Kyi, who had been imprisoned for unlawful association, were released from the same camp.
Nine former officials from Khin Nyunt’s Military Intelligence were also released from Kathar prison, according to people who went to the prison yesterday to see if Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal assistant Win Htein would be among those released.
Dr Zaw Myint Maung, a people’s parliament representative from Amarapura in Mandalay division, was released from Kachin state’s Myitkyina prison on Saturday after serving 18 years in prison with four years left of his sentence.
His wife said Pe Sein, a member of Moe Nyin National League for Democracy organising wing, Tint Swe from Pu-tao and Naung Naung, Aung San Suu Kyi’s cameraman who was arrested after her trip to Kachin state, were also released from Myitkyina.
She said her husband was so excited to have been released after spending nearly 19 years in prison that he didn’t know what to say when she talked to him on phone.
“He was speechless when I talked to him on phone – he could only answer my questions but wouldn’t say anything else,” she said.
His daughter, who was only one year old at the time of his sentencing, said she was so happy to see him now as she never had spent time together with him before.
Other political prisoners among those released were San Chaung NLD chair Thet Wai, Kamaryut All Burma Federation of Student Unions member Tun Tun and Arakan Liberation Party member Khaing Ba Myint.
Five monks from San Chaung’s Nine-Storey Pagoda monastery who were arrested in 2003 for breaking curfew were also freed.
NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said the party had not expected many political prisoners to be released.
“We didn’t actually expect to see a lot of political prisoners on the list of those who were granted amnesty by the government,” Nyan Win said.
“In the government’s report about the release of the prisoners in newspapers, they used the term ‘civilian prisoners’, but the issue we are having with the 2010 elections is about the political prisoners,” he said.
“The government said the amnesty was granted to the inmates as a gesture of goodwill – but we see that it’s merely a front as there are only a few political prisoners included.”
23 February 2009
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) can confirm that 23 political prisoners were released from various prisons in Burma 21st February 2009.
On Friday the ruling military regime announced that it would release 6,313 prisoners from 21 February.
The list of released:
Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, Member of Parliament from the National League for Democracy party, was released from Myitkyina Prison. He has been in jail since 1991.
U Pe Sein, Township organizer, Mohnyin, Kachin State.
U Naw Naw
U Kaythara (a) U Kyaw Min Thet
U Ingura (a) U Aye Tun Thar
U Thireina (a) U Kyaw Moe
U Marlaina (a) U Min Zaw Aung
U Ardatesa (a) U Aung Ko
U Takekanateya (a) U Maung Zaw
U Damitika (a) U Tun Tun
U Tun Zaw Htay (a) Tun Tun
U Khaing Ba Myint
U Nandathiri (a) U Htay Ye Tun
U Sandima (a) U Zaw Min Htet
Ma Hmwe (a) Ma Kyin Haw
Ma Khin Khin Leah
U Thet Wai (a) Pauk Sa
20. U Tin Htay
21. U Than Htay
22.Ma Htay (insein)
23.Zaw Naing Htwe (a) Kat Net (Labour camp)