Narinjara News


Akyab, March 10



Fate of Arakanese political prisoners uncertain in Burma



There were not any Arakanese politicians among the recently released prisoners by the Burma military authority, according to a politician From Akyab.


There are at lease 25 Arakanese political prisoners in several jails in Burma and among them, some have been held for more than 20 years.


U Khaing Soe and another 19 prisoners from Arakan Communist party have been held in the Thayawaddy jail since their arrest in 1986, after they raided the town of Minbya in Arakan State.


In the incident, the group took at least 40 firearms from the police department and 1.6 million Burmese Kyat from the government bank of Minbya.


Soon after the incident, U Khaing Soe, leader of the rebel group, and U Soe Myint, a prominent lawyer, were arrested by the Burmese army, along with several followers, in Arakan State.


According to sources, they have been issued amnesty four times since the present military government took over power in Burma, but so far the authority has refused to release them.


One political leader said that the communist party is not currently on Burmese soil, as the party is totally abolished and that the military government should release them along with other prisoners.


In the Akyab jail there are about 10 political prisoners, including U Tha Tun Aung, U Lon Shaw, U San Shwe Oo, and an abbot of Nasi Wra monastery, all who were arrested by the authority in 2001, after a Muslim and Buddhist riot in Akyab.


Akyab sources said U Tha Tun Aung and the others were not actually involved in the riot, but the authority arrested them in retaliation for the people who lead the democracy movement in Akyab, in 1988.


Another prominent student and youth leader, as well as the chairman of Rakhaing Patriotic Literature Club (RPLC), Khaing Kung San, who is now based in Bangkok, was arrested by Thai police in Bangkok in 2000. After his arrest, the Thai authorities handed him over to the authority of Burma in Myawaddy, opposite the town of Mae Sot on the Thai side.


 Since his arrest, he has been sentenced for seven years of imprisonment by the Burmese authority, but the location and name of the jail where he has been detained is unknown, said a relative.


There is currently a rumor in Burma that the military government will give amnesty for many prisoners before the 60th anniversary of the Mark of Army Day, or Tamadaw day, on 27 March. According a person who is close to a prisoner family, the jail authorities has to be bribed about 30,000 Burmese Kyat for each prisoner, in order to put a prisoner's name in the amnesty list, said a relative of one prisoner.


Despite the amnesty, Arakanese political prisoners are cannot to be released from jail through bribing the jail authority because they are well known political prisoners in Arakan. The fate of the Arakanese prisoners is still unknown, said a relative of one political prisoner. #




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