On the late night and early morning of 21st-22nd August 2007, one year ago, after leading peaceful protests against the sudden hike in fuel and commodity prices, 13 leading members of the 88 Generation Student’s Group were arrested by the Burmese authorities. They are:
Min Ko Naing (Paw Oo Tun): now more than 17 years total detention, Jimmy (Kyaw Min Yu): total detention more than 15 years, Mya Aye: a total of more than 8 years in detention, Ko Ko Gyi: a total time in detention of 14 years and 8 months Kyaw Kyaw Htwe (Marky): nearly 13 years in detention Arnt Bwe Kyaw: over 9 years in detention Pyone Cho: total of over 16 years in detention, Min Zeya: total of 7 years and 5 months detention Nyan Lin: a total of 7 years detention Ko Zeya: over 13 years and 7 months in detention Panneik Tun: a total of 8 years detention Zaw Zaw Min: a total of 1 year and 1 month detention Thet Zaw: already served a total of 10 years and 4 months.
These arbitrary arrests are part of an ongoing systematic persecution of activists, both social and political, by the Burmese Junta. In the last year there have been around 900 arrests of activists, some for things like helping the relief operation following Cyclone Nargis. Currently there are at least 2092 Political Prisoners being held in detention across Burma.
Political Prisoners in detention suffer massive hardships, inflicted on them systematically by the authorities, including severe physical and psychological torture, many interrogations, starvation, malnutrition and many different and serious health problems due to the conditions they have been held under. They also suffer prolonged and unlawful detention, no access to proper legal counsel, no free or fair trials and a methodical intrusion into their lives by the Burmese authorities, and those of their families and associates, both during their detention and throughout the times that they have been released. Due to this treatment throughout their years in detention, all Political Prisoners develop weak health, and are susceptible to illness. For example: Hla Myo Naung (member of 88 Generation Students Group, held in Insein prison, arrested at eye clinic, now awaiting sentence) has already lost the sight in one of his eyes and his other eye will also soon be blind, due to the neglect of the authorities in not providing proper medical treatment.
The current situation of the above 13 student leaders, arrested this time last year is that they have not seen a lawyer since their detention, and some of the charges under which they were first arrested have been changed. Some of them and their family members are not sure under which charges they are being held. None of them have been brought before a court of any kind, or been subject to a trial. None of them have been sentenced. Some are suffering from severe health problems and have not yet received proper medical treatment. Among the most urgent cases are Ko Min Ko Naing, whose eyesight is failing, has some serious health complications with his heart and has pain walking due to a problem with his foot and Ko Mya Aye is suffering from heart disease.
Including the last year, the 13 student leaders listed above, have served a total time in detention of 140 years and 1 month so far. That is enough. AAPP pays tribute to these Activists for their service to their country, their total commitment, creativity and strength in the face of a brutal military regime. AAPP strongly condemns the Burmese regime, who acts with impunity, for their systematic persecution of these activists. They have suffered these abuses because of their outspoken belief in human rights, their love for their country and their determination to replace military dictatorship with democracy in Burma.