Thursday, April 9, 2009

Five Burmese Labor Activists Arrested


Five labor activists were arrested recently in Rangoon after attending a labor conference held on the Thai-Burma border, an exiled labor group, the Federation Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), said on Wednesday.

The FTUB said in a press release that five members, who are peaceful advocates and campaigners for labor rights, were arrested on April 1.

The detainees are Zaw Myint Aung, a 49-year-old teacher; three textile factory workers, Soe Oo, 37, Tun Nyein, 22, and Khine Lin Myat, 22 ; and Shwe Yi Nyunt, a 25-year-old nurses aid and law student.

“The five members are likely being held in interrogation centers in the Rangoon area where it is believed they are being tortured,” the press release said.

The exile labor group also claimed that family members of the five activists were arrested or threatened to compel cooperation from those detained.

Burma has more than 2,100 political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In two years, the number of political prisoners has doubled.

For two decades, the international community, including the United Nations and Burmese opposition groups, has repeatedly called for the release of all political prisoners.

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