Thursday, January 24, 2008

Amnesty International Condemns Increasing Number of Arrests in Myanmar

Four Months after Violent Crackdown, Abuses Continue


Amnesty International condemns the Myanmar government's continued imprisonment of political activists, which new research reveals now stands at 96 arrests since
November 1, 2007.

"Four months on from the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators,
rather than stop its unlawful arrests the Myanmar government has actually
accelerated them. U.N. Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari was told in
early November by Prime Minister Thein Sein that arrests had stopped and
that no more would take place. Amnesty International's research contradicts
that assurance completely," said Catherine Baber, director of Amnesty
International's Asia-Pacific program.

"The new arrests in December and January target people who have
attempted to send evidence of the crackdown to the international community,
clearly showing that the government's chief priority is to silence its
citizens who would hold them accountable," continued Baber.

Amnesty International is also gravely concerned that since November 1,
2007, the Myanmar authorities have sentenced to prison at least 15
protesters and their supporters, and that torture and ill-treatment of
detainees has been reported.

"Such prosecutions are politically motivated, imposed after proceedings
that flagrantly abuse people's right to a free and fair trial and
contravene international human rights standards," said Baber.

Amnesty International confirms the following arrests since early

-- On November 4, National League for Democracy (NLD) member Zaw Zaw
was arrested at a coffee shop in Yangon's Kyeemyindaing Township.

-- On November 5, U Khaymarwuntha, a 20-year-old monk from Yangon's
Zantila Kamahtan monastery, was arrested for his involvement in the
September demonstrations.

-- On November 19, Ray Thein (alias Bu Maung), an NLD Secretary in
Rakhine State, was re-arrested after being briefly detained in September
for holding an anti-junta demonstration.

-- On November 24, eight members of the Kachin Independence
Organization (KIO) were arrested, likely due to KIO's refusal to accede to
the government's demand that they publicly renounce the November statement
by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

-- On November 28, U Tin Hla, member of the Federation of Trade
Unions-Burma (FTUB) and the Burma Railway Union, was arrested along with
his family for allegedly organizing railway workers and encouraging them to
join the rallies in September. His wife and two children were released
after five days.

-- On December 2, Hajee Amir Hakim, a 52-year-old man from Rakhine
State, was arrested for writing a letter to the BBC detailing human rights
abuses against the Rohingya minority. He was released the following day
after his relatives bribed a police officer. Aung Zaw Win, a lay person,
was also arrested the same day while inquiring about evicted monks.

-- On December 14, Khin Moe Aye, Kyaw Soe, Zaw Min, Min Min Soe, Htun
Htun Win and Myo Yan Naung Thein, all former political prisoners and
current members of the 88 Generation Students groups, were arrested for
being linked to the activists who filmed the September protests and spoke
to exiled media.

-- On January 2, NLD members Dr. Aung Moe Nyo, Htay Myint, Sein Win,
Than Htun, U Ko Oo, Nay Myo Kyaw were arrested in Magwe division,
reportedly to stop them from attending independence day celebrations in a
nearby township.

-- On January 15, Saw Wai, poet and leader of an organization
established by artists to care for orphans of AIDS victims, was arrested
after authorities deciphered part of his "February 14" poem that contained
a hidden message criticizing Senior General Than Shwe.

To date at least 700 people arrested during and since the September
protests remain behind bars, while 1,150 political prisoners held prior to
the protests have not been released. More than 80 persons remain
unaccounted for since the September demonstrations, and are likely the
victims of enforced disappearance.

Amnesty International urges the international community to ensure that
the U.N. Human Rights Council's Resolution of December 14, 2007, which
supported recommendations of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation
of Human Rights in Myanmar, Paulo Pinheiro, is respected.

"In view of the accelerating rate of arrests and other human rights
violations four months on, the international community should press the
government of Myanmar to immediately invite Prof. Pinheiro back to the
country to conduct the full-fledged fact-finding mission he has requested,"
said Baber.

For more information, please visit or call
202-544-0200 x302.

No comments: