Burma Campaign UK today welcomes the release of Khin Mi Mi Khaing, Myint Myint Aye and Thant Zin Htet, who have been on hunger strike since December 13th. The three were released after Pegu Divisional court accepted their appeal against the charges against them.
Khin Mi Mi Khaing and Myint Myint Aye are leaders of two independent women’s networks in Burma, and Thant Zin Htet is a student activist. In June, they visited Pae Ma Khan village in Bago Division to show their support to farmers who ploughed land that had been confiscated from them. The Burmese Army had confiscated their land almost two decades ago.
They were arrested and charged under Section 6 of the 1988 Law Relating to the Formation of Organizations, and Thant Zin Htet was also charged under Article 18(b) of the Peaceful Assembly Law. They were denied bail and are being detained in Paung De prison. At court hearings, they were being treated as convicts, and Thant Zin Htet was being forced to wear handcuffs and iron shackles.
Khin Mi Mi Khaing, Myint Myint Aye and Thant Zin Htet, were highlighted by Burma Campaign UK as political prisoners of the month as part of out No Political Prisoner Left Behind Campaign.
On December 13th, after being on trial for more than six months, refused bail and having more than 20 court hearings they began a hunger strike. Their release is clearly in response to the hunger strike and negative domestic and international attention that the case was attracting.
“With the British and other governments prioritising trade with Burma rather than human rights, activists are still facing harassment, arrest and jail,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Political prisoners are now having to threaten to starve themselves to death before being released.”