Narinjara News

Amnesty for a Burmese Journalist requested

Dhaka, 25
th March 03:  A number of Burmese Opposition support groups including Burma Support Group, Norway, have appealed to the Prime Minister of India for the amnesty of a reputed Burmese journalist in exile, Mr Soe Myint, whose Mizzima News Group is based in New Delhi, according to an open letter to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the PM of India, dated 20th March 2003.

The Norwegian Union of Journalists, the Norwegian Burma Committee, the Burma Support Group/Norway, the Swedish Burma Committee, the Finnish Burma Committee and the Danish Burma Committee appealed that the trial of Mr Soe Myint will go on in April 2003 in a court in West Bengal for action he committed more than twelve years ago.  If found guilty at the court, Mr Soe Myint faces a life imprisonment or deportation. 

Mr Soe Myint and a fellow student skyjacked a Thai Airways plane on its way from Bangkok via Rangoon to Calcutta in November, in an attempt to divert the media attention from the imminent Gulf War to the Burmese junta’s refusal to honour the result of the 1990 general election in which the NLD led by charismatic Daw Aung San suu Kyi won a landslide.

The two were warmly received at the Calcutta airport and allowed to hold a press conference.  In 1993, Mr Soe Myint was granted refugee status by the UNHCR.  Since then he has been engaged in publishing news and features through the internet on Burma related issues.  The recent pressure of the Burmese junta on the Government of India to stop Mizzima, which was found by him, is a testimony to the dedication of this young journalist, the letter said.

Though hijacking is a serious political crime, Soe Myint’s method that did not involve arms hijacking, should be considered on humanitarian ground, it said.  Finally the appeal was made to withdraw the case against Mr Soe Myint as an act of political solidarity with the movement for the restoration of democracy led by Daw Aung san Suu Kyi.  #