/ languages

Choisir langue


Activists released, opposition calls for Suu Kyi house arrest to end

Article published on the 2008-09-24 Latest update 2008-09-24 12:39 TU

Win Tin in his prison clothes at a friend's house after his release from prison(Photo: Reuters)

Win Tin in his prison clothes at a friend's house after his release from prison
(Photo: Reuters)

Myanmar's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) called for the end of the house arrest of its leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the release of seven dissidents, including 79-year-old journalist and activist Win Tin who had spent 19 years in jail. The United Nations, the US and campaigning groups welcomed the release but NGOs estimate that about 2,000 political prisoners remain behind bars.

NLD spokesperson Nyan Win told the French enws agency AFP that the party willl send an appeal for Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom to the cabinet this week.

The seven activists were freed on Tuesday as part of an amnesty for 9,002 prisoners. State media say that the move is prepare for the opposition to participate in elections promised for 2010, as part of the military govenrment's so-called "roadmap for democracy".

Soh Aung for the Forum for Democracy in Burma in Bangkok points out that the release is at the same time as the UN General Assembly meets and claims that the government faces internal opposition over its handling of this year's cyclone.

"Their motive is to show another publicity stunt to the international community as well as the people of Burma that they’re doing such good things," he told RFI. "But if they are sincere they have to release all the political prisoners and sit together with the other election-winning political parties, such as National League for Democracy, ethnic leaders, on the political deadlock in our country."

Comment: Soh Aung for the Forum for Democracy in Burma

24/09/2008 by Tom Williams

Win Tin, who was one of the NLD's founders, was given several jail sentences in 1989 for distributing political propaganda, sheltering a woman who had had an abortion and writing to the UN's special envoy of  the time to protest about prisone conditions.

Despite his 19 years in prison, he vowed to carry on with opposition political acvitity, according to The Reporters Without Borders group which declared itself "overjoyed" at his release.

"I am going to continue practising politics because I am a political man," he said. "I did not sign document 401, which would have forced me to give up that role. Starting today, I am going to continue supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. I will soon be 80, but I am not going to stop."

Win Tin appeared to be strong and healthy, although his supporters had expressed fears for his health during his detention.

Other dissidents confirmed released Tuesday were Aye Thein, Khin Maung Swe, Win Htein, Than Nyein, Aung Soe Myint and May Win Myint.