Myanmar: Former journalist and political leader re-arrested

English PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of former journalist and member of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Ohn Kyaing. The reason for his arrest is not yet known.

 

According to our information, Ohn Kyaing, aged 64, was arrested by the Special Intelligence Police Unit at his home in Rangoon at 10 pm on 1 October 2008.  It has been reported that Ohn Kyaing was a member of the Cyclone Nargis Emergency Relief Committee formed by the NLD, although the authorities have not yet made public the reason for his arrest. Two other leading activists remain detained for their roles in the relief effort following Cyclone Nargis, comedian Zargana and journalist Zaw Thet Htwe.

 

English PEN is urgently seeking details of any charges against Ohn Kyaing, and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Background:

 

Ohn Kyaing was an elected MP for the NLD in the 1990 parliamentary election, which the Burmese military regime refused to recognize. He was also a translator and editor, and wrote articles for the publications Hanthawaddy and Botahtaung under the pen-name Aung Wint. Ohn Kyaing was previously arrested on 6 September 1990 and sentenced to seventeen years imprisonment for ‘writing and distributing seditions pamphlets and threatening state security’. He was released from Taungoo Prison on 3 January 2005, as part of a general amnesty.  

 

For the BBC’s Myanmar (Burma) country profile:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1300003.stm

 

Appeals to:

 

– Expressing serious concerns about the detention of former journalist and political leader Ohn
 Kyaing, and seeking details of any charges against him;
–  Calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

While the situation in Burma remains critical, letters sent to the country may not be received or taken as a priority. It is therefore recommended that appeals be sent to the diplomatic representative of Myanmar (Burma) in the UK:

 

His Excellency HE U Nay Win
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
19A Charles Street
Berkeley Square
London W1J 5DX

 

Letters to the press:



PEN members may consider writing letters to their national newspapers expressing alarm at events in Burma, and highlighting Ohn Kyaing’s case to illustrate the many years of repression in the country.


 

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/myanmarformerjournalistandpoliticalleaderre-arrested/

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