Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Sixteen political prisoners who had served their full terms were released today from Burmese jails, infamous for their brutal, neglectful treatment of inmates, a spokesman of a prisoners’ aid group said.
Those released were Buddhist monk Ashin Sandima, Kyaw Kyaw San, Chit Khin, Myint Swe, Thein Win, Han Sein, Maung Sein, Htay Aung, San Baw, Soe Ohn, Tun Myint, Maung Maung Than, Dr. Robert San Aung and three members of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma secretary Tate Naing said.
Other than the three ABFSU members, the group was arrested in 2008 for protesting against the junta and demanding the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who at the time was under house arrest. They were sentenced to two years and six months for violating a ban on public gatherings of more than five people.
The three ABFSU members, Han Win Aung, Kyaw Kyaw and Lwin Ko Latt, were arrested for opposing the junta’s “road map to democracy” and sentenced to seven years in prison.
“We had served our full prison terms. Our sentences were not reduced,” Han Win Aung told Mizzima.
Two other ABFSU members Nanda Swe Aung and Kyaw Lin Tun; are still serving 20-year prison terms in Hpaan Prison and Insein Prison, respectively.
On August 30 in 2003, six ABFSU members were arrested by intelligence officers. Kyaw Soe Moe, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison, was released last year under an amnesty.
“It doesn’t matter for how long they’ve detained us … how brutal they were, we will never be broken in spirit. Our beliefs are unshakeable. We will flourish under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership for the sake of democracy and political freedom,” Han Win Aung told Mizzima.
Han Win Aung suffered pneumonia in prison.
Burmese prisons are notorious worldwide for their inhumane and dirty conditions, abusive techniques, failure to provide adequate food, hygiene or health care, and uses of mental and physical torture.
One of Insein Prison’s most famous prisoners was the Nobel Peace Prize winning pro-democracy leader, Suu Kyi, who was confined there Insein on three separate occasions in 2003, 2007 and last year. The Burmese ruling military junta released from house arrest last month.