Date 6 Feb 2014.
SUMMARY OF THE CURRENT SITUATION
The end of 2013 saw the cancelation of numerous political activists trials, and the release of a few from Burma’s prison. According to government statements, this has emptied the jails of political activists. Those trials under the most commonly used laws to arrests activists were ended and the accused freed without further charge. And yet President Thein Sein has still failed to achieve his promise to release all political prisoners. Following the December release, The Review Committee for the Release of Remaining Political Prisoners still held the assertion that there remained 33 political prisoners, a number that has already begun to increase in January. AAPP is a leading member of The Review Committee and there are still political prisoners to be released in the New Year. Because of erroneous declarations by government officials and an insistence that there are no more political prisoners in Burma, the role of The Review Committee will become increasingly important in fighting for their release.
Until these ongoing arrests are ended 2014 will not be the year that Burma’s jails become free of political activists. It has already begun with arrests under the same laws the December 30th Presidential order muted sentences for. While arrests for peaceful political activities continue, there will always be political prisoners in Burma.
MONTH IN REVIEW
AAPP records show at least 33 political prisoners remain in prison with around 148 awaiting sentencing. The month of January also saw the arrest of 10 individuals, 9 of which were charged under Section 18 of the Peaceful Procession and Peaceful Assembly law, the other under section 447 of the Trespass Law.
7 people were sentenced, including the prominent activist Daw Bauk Ja who was subsequently released on the 24th of January as she had already served six months of incarceration. 5 were released from prison.
88 Generation Student Group leaders called for Burma’s former military junta to be held responsible for their actions against political prisoners in the past. The call was made at the ceremony commemorating political prisoners who had died during their detention over the past two and a half decades. Min Ko Naing, leader of the 88 Generation Student organization said just because they are no longer in power doesn’t mean that they should not be held responsible. At the ceremony Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and Former Political Prisoners Society (FPPS) provided compensation to the families of 54 former prisoners who had died in custody. (RFA)
January also saw one of the biggest demonstrations held in Rangoon since the Saffron Revolution in 2007. Some 2000 people representing around 60 civil society groups protested on the 5th of January at Mahabandoola Park, symbolic venue of the Independence monument. The demonstration was called for the repeal of unjust and reviled sections 18 and 505 (b), both of which are in c po-ontravention of fundamental human rights.
More Information Contact
Tate Naing (Secretary) (+95) 9 4280 23828
Bo Kyi (Joint Secretary) (+66) 81 9628 713
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