Saturday, October 22, 2016
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Former political prisoners behind bars again

UK-based rights group Burma Campaign UK has appealed to President U Thein Sein, calling for the release of two former political prisoners recently jailed again for their part in organising a peaceful protest.

Nay Myo Zin and Win Cho were arrested and charged on January 18, under Section 18 of the Peaceful Procession Law for holding a protest without permission.

In March 2014, the pair was sentenced to three months in Insein Prison.

The protest in question saw hundreds of farmers across the country demonstrate on January  17, in a push for the release of remaining political prisoners, as well as constitutional change and the establishment of a farmers’ union.

Burma Campaign UK says President U Thein Sein has fallen short in honouring his commitment to a pledge on releasing political prisoners by the end of 2013.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma (AAPPB) has independently verified 33 individual cases of political prisoners still behind bars, despite some of those cases having been investigated by the government-appointed political prisoner scrutiny board.

The Burma Campaign group is calling for the urgent repeal of archaic and repressive legislation, saying that hundreds of activists could still face prison for their political activities, ethnicity or religion under the current framework.

The group has also urged the president to consider establishing a “permanent independent political prisoner review mechanism involving international expertise” to address the ongoing issue, as well as prioritise bringing the existing legal framework into line with international standards.

"Activists like Nay Myo Zin and Win Cho are being arrested under this repressive law for organising peaceful protests. Thein Sein's government should pass a protest law which gives people genuine rights and freedom to protest. The issue of political prisoners will remain a big problem unless all repressive laws are repealed in the country," Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK was quoted as saying in the release.