Rhythm in Combination--
Sein Hla Oo
06 July 2005
Rn'R has been using Sein Hla Oo's case on AI information concert tables since 2003. A hugh thank you to all who stopped by our tables and signed his petition!
AI Index: ASA 16/022/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 183
6 July 2005
Myanmar: Freedom for 200 but many more still in prisonAmnesty International welcomes the release from prison today of more than 200 political prisoners, including more than 100 from Insein Prison in
"We are happy to hear of the release of prisoners of conscience,
many of whom have been imprisoned for more than a decade," said Catherine Baber, Deputy Asia Program Director of Amnesty International.
"However there remains an urgent need to immediately and
unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience among over 1100
political prisoners. We urge the authorities to use the momentum of this
decision and release unconditionally -- regardless of their political or
religious allegiance -- all prisoners of conscience, including Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi."
"The release of prisoners of conscience should be a first step
towards putting an end to abuse of the justice system to detain peaceful
dissenters. The authorities must ensure however, that no conditions are
attached that may be used to return people to prison should they resume
peaceful political activities. They must guarantee that all people,
including recently released prisoners, are able to peacefully exercise
their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly without
fear of repression," said Catherine Baber.
More than 1100 journalists, student leaders, nuns, teachers,
lawyers, students, monks and farmers are serving long sentences after
unfair trials for acts of peaceful dissent. Many of them are in a poor
state of health and have suffered torture and other cruel, inhuman or
On this occasion, Amnesty International reiterates calls to the State
Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to protect against future wrongful
imprisonment by repealing laws that allow the prosecution of people on
the basis of their peaceful political and religious activities. The SPDC must
also ensure that future trials accord with international fair trial
A proportion of prisoners released today were eligible to be released with
time off for good behaviour deducted from their sentences. A number of
political prisoners, including NLD MPs elect, who were freed in a mass
release of prisoners between November 2004 and January 2005, have been rearrested after resuming political activities, and given lengthy prison
terms. They are not known to have been included in today's release of
political prisoners. Arrests for political reasons continue to be
Among the prisoners released today for whose release Amnesty
International has been campaigning are:
U Sein Hla Oo, a former news editor, film critic and NLD Member of
Parliament elect, who was imprisoned in Myitkyina Prison. He had been
conditionally released in an amnesty in 1993, and rearrested in 1994 for
communicating "fabricated news" to foreign journalists and diplomats, and
distributing political materials. He was sentenced to seven years'
imprisonment, and made to serve the outstanding part of his earlier
sentence as the authorities stated that he had "breached his promise and
secretly carried out anti-government activities."
U Khin Zaw Win, a dentist and overseas student connected with the
National League for Democracy. He was arrested at Yangon airport on his way to Singapore and sentenced in connection with papers, computer disks and letters he was carrying with him which allegedly included "anti-government sentiments". He was among a group of prisoners who were penalized in 1996 for allegedly attempting to send information regarding poor conditions in Insein to the United Nations, and for circulating news in the prison. Prisoners had been placed in military dog cells, forced to sleep on concrete floors with no bedding, and forbidden any visits from their
Kyaw Min Yu, a student, was arrested in connection with his political
activities in 1989, and was serving a sentence of 17 years' imprisonment.
He was originally held without charge or trial and then sentenced to 10
years' imprisonment on charges of trying to incite unrest, and has
completed this sentence. He received a second sentence of seven years'
imprisonment, while still imprisoned in connection with his alleged
involvement in plans to distribute news from overseas broadcasts within
Insein Prison, and to contact the United Nations Human Rights Commission
about conditions in the prison.
Unconfirmed reports also state that U Win Tin, a 75-year-old editor was
also released. He was arrested 16 years ago on 4 July 1989, and sentenced to 20 years in prison on account of his political opposition to the authorities. He has been denied basic rights, including the right to a
fair trial, to writing materials and to humane prison conditions. Last week,
Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders delivered petitions
or his release to Myanmar embassies in Paris and London.
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: