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On Fri 20 Feb, the Myanmar government announced that it would release 6,313 prisoners. On Sat 21 Feb, 24 political prisoners were free, among them Ma Khin Khin Leh!!!
It's wonderful news that 24 political prisoners were released. Ma Khin Khin Leh was on a life sentence. I never thought she would suddenly be released. The releases probably don't mean much in the big picture of things but still it's always good when some political prisoners are freed. I'm sure the sheer volume of your tireless and dedicated campaigning for Ma Khin Khin Leh in the past decade has helped to secure her freedom. Well done to all!
The 24 released political prisoners were held in three different prisons: Myintkyina prison (Kachin State), Insein Prison and Kale prison (Sagaing Division). The 24 included nine monks and one nun. A few others are NLD members, among them Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, a MP-elect who had been in prison since 1991. Another individual, Zaw Naing Htwe, was released from a labour camp. Zaw Naing Htwe was sent in Dec 08 to nine years in prison. Why? Because he received a letter from his elder brother Ko Marky who is one of the imprisoned 88G leaders.
Releases like these smack of opportunism and invite speculation. Off the top of my head, I think the SPDC released these prisoners because Quintana has just been there, that the Human Rights Council is coming up in March (we'll be lobbying there of course) and also because if I'm right, there's a UNSC meeting on Myanmar last Friday. The SPDC made these releases to deflect some pressure and to divide international opinion. We know what they are like.
But we shall fight on.
And I recall what Peter Benenson said on the 40th anniversary of the founding of Amnesty in 2001: only when "the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world's people, will our work be done."
Have a good week!
Letzte inhaltliche Änderung: 24.02.2009 19:24 Uhr