Three journalists released under presidential commutation

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A number of journalists were released from prisons under the one-year commutation ordered by Burmese President Thein Sein, according to their families and friends.

In this file photo, people wait outside Insein Prison in Rangoon. Photo: MizzimaIn this file photo, people wait outside Insein Prison in Rangoon. Photo: Mizzima

Poet and writer Lu Tin Win, 44, an 88-generation student member and Thaung Win Bo, 65, a former journalist on the state-runNew Light of Myanmar were released on May 17.

Lu Tin Win participated in the pro-democracy movement led by Buddhist monks in September 2007 and was charged under section 505(b) (inducing crime against public tranquility) and sections 145 and 147 (unlawful assembly) of the Penal Code and sentenced to four years in prison. He was released from Myeik Prison in Taninthayi Region.

A friend, who is also a former political prisoner, told Mizzima that Lu Tin Win was released. On September 29, 2007, Lu Tin Win was stopped by security police who found a book ‘88-Generation Students’ in his possession.

Thaung Win Bo was released from Tharyawaddy Prison in Pegu Region, according to his family.  He was arrested on July 8, 2008, and charged under section 17 (1) of the Unlawful Associations Act for reportedly sending news reports to his daughter, VOA reporter Aye Aye Mar. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

A member of his family said that he was a travel writer and had no involvement in politics.

Zaw Tun worked on the Rangoon-based News Watch Journal was stopped by police near pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s home in Rangoon in September 2008 and arrested. He was sentence to two years in prison for allegedly obstructing  police.

Journalist Nyan Lin Aung, an editor at the Rangoon-based Beauty Magazine, was also released from prison, according to an editor in Rangoon. He was arrested for allegedly contacting the All Burma Federation of Students’ Union and Generation Wave which were underground pro-democracy groups.

Aung Tun Myint, a freelance journalist, was released from Sittwe Prison in Arakan State on May 12, after he had served his full prison term, according to his mother. Aung Tun Myint was arrested for taking photographs of the 2008 constitutional referendum in Hmawbi Township in Rangoon Region and sentenced to three years in prison on an immigration case.

So far, four out of a total of 22 political prisoners who are journalists have been released, according to information compiled by Mizzima.

Since the government’s commutation, more than 50 political prisoners have been released from prisons across the country under the general commutation ordered on May 16. Before the recent releases, there were 2,061 political prisoners in Burma, according to information compiled by Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma. In accordance with the presidential commutation, all death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment and more than 14,600 prisoners are scheduled to be released from prisons across the country.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 May 2011 20:30 )

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