Friday, 4 January 2008

Diamonds Wedding Video 'Criminals' Release Hopes

2 January 2008
Original report by Naw Say Paw, DVB

The wife of Ko Tin Htay, who was serving a 2 year jail term, because he dared to watch video recording of the wedding of senior general Than Shwe's daughter, known in Burma as
'Diamonds Decorated Wedding' (there are 24 of them), is hoping that her husband could be in the list of pardoned release of prisoners on 4 January, the Independence Day.

'A lot of people are now travelling all over the country, to wait at the gates of prisons where their loved ones are held, in the hope that they might be released. My husband committed no crime. Two years jail for just watching the video is unbelievable. Our family has lost so much, just for that, so I am hoping that he will be released as soon as possible', said Ma Lwin Lwin Mar, Ko Tin Htay's wife.

Ko Tin Htay was charged under section 505b on 'incitement to commit offences against the public tranquility'.
Ko Than Tun, who was also involved with Ko Tin Htay, was also charged and is serving a 4 1/2 year prison sentence.

It is reported that hopes and expections are high amongst families and relations of detainees, who have committed no crime and have been imprisoned unreasonably.

Similar hopes are with Ma Pyone Pyone Aye, whose husband political prisoner Ko Thet Oo, is serving 26 years imprisonment. All others in the same case have now been released.

Last year, on Independence Day's 59th anniversary, when the government pardoned nearly 3000 prisoners, over 20 political prisoners were among them. This year, as well as the families of long-term serving political prisoners, the families of detainees being arrested in relation to August and September protests, are also hoping for their loved ones' release.

U Tate Naing, the secretary of AAPP Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) , based on the border, has noted that the present government is regarded as more repressive than the previous Khin Nyunt government, so it would be better not to raise expectations too much.

'In previous years, only a small percentage of political prisoners were released, compared with the numbers of other convicts. Those political prisoners who were released were near the end of their terms', U Tate Naing added. He also explained that when over 9000 prisoners were released in 2004, with the admission that they were arrested wrongly by Khin Nyunt led Military Intelligence, there were only 80 political prisoners among them.

'We are not pinning hopes on the release of a lot of political prisoners'.

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