Friday, January 11, 2008

NLD Member Released in Human Rights Case - Thet Wai

By Saw Yan Naing

The chairman of Sanchaung Township’s National League for Democracy was released on Friday following his recent arrest for possessing a memory card and documents regarding human rights abuses in Burma, according to Nyan Win, the party’s spokesperson.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, a source close to Thet Wai confirmed that he had been released on 500,000 kyat bail from a court in Kyauktada Township in Rangoon that day. Thet Wai returned to his work at the NLD headquarters later on Friday.

A lawyer in Rangoon, Aung Thein, confirmed that Thet Wai had been arrested for accepting material from a pro-democracy activist, Ohn Than, who was himself arrested by police and plainclothes security officials after staging a demonstration outside the United States embassy in Rangoon in August.

The material in question apparently contained information relating to human rights abuses in Burmese prisons and forced labor issues, and was written by Ohn Than during his incarceration in the notorious Insein prison. Sources said that he intended to hand the information over to the International Labor Organization.

Aung Thein said that Thet Wai was prosecuted under article 505 (B)—instigation or destruction of stability or government— a charge that is expected to result in three years’ imprisonment.

Meanwhile, another pro-democratic human rights activist, Htin Kyaw, was charged under Article 124 (A)—disrespecting the government of the country—and would probably be sentenced to life imprisonment, said the lawyer.

Htin Kyaw is one of the prominent activists who were arrested by Burmese authorities in August following protests against the increase in fuel prices.

He went on hunger strike in protest against the human rights abuses in the prison for several weeks while he was detained in Rangoon’s Insein prison.

Source: Irrawaddy News

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