By Ariel Lin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
YANGON, Myanmar – A prominent political ally of the detained pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been arrested in Burma. 64-year-old Ohn Kyaing was taken from his home on Wednesday, according to the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).
NLD spokesman Nyan Win told the Associated Press the reasons for the arrest were still not known, but he pointed that Ohn Kyaing had been very involved in efforts to help the survivors of the cyclone that devastated Burma in May.
Ohn Kyaing joined the NLD after a long career in journalism and won a parliamentary seat in 1990 that was annulled by the military. The Military Intelligence Service arrested Ohn Kyaing in September 1990. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison for “writing and distributing seditious pamphlets” and “threatening the security of the state.” After serving 15 years of a 17-year prison sentence, Ohn Kyaing was released from prison in 2005.
Ohn Kyaing is a close friend and former colleague of Win Tin, another former journalist turned opposition politician, who was the longest-serving political prisoner in Myanmar until his release September 23, 2008. Win Tin said, Ohn Kyaing’s “is not unusual and something we have to expect. He is a close colleague, a good friend and a highly qualified man.”
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association call for the immediate release of well-known former journalist Ohn Kyaing. The two organizations say, “Despite last month’s release of about 9,000 detainees, including a handful of political prisoners, the military regime continues to arrest opposition members.”
Top United Nations human rights officials also called on Myanmar’s military junta to free the estimated 2,000 political prisoners it holds and end the detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
For more information, please see:
AP – Myanmar detains political ally of Aung San Suu Kyi – 02 October 2008
BBC – Burma opposition figure arrested – 02 October 2008
Bloomberg – Myanmar Should Free 2,000 Political Prisoners, Suu Kyi, UN Says – 03 October 2008
CNN – Myanmar detains ally of Aung San Suu Kyi – 02 October 2008
Reporters Without Borders – Journalist and opposition member Ohn Kyaing arrested again – 02 October 2008