Burma Campaign UK today called for the immediate unconditional release of Aung Ko Latt. Aung Ko Latt is a 36-year-old activist who campaigns for genuine democracy and freedom in Burma. He was arrested in June 2011 with false accusations of being a member of the Karen National Union (KNU) and bombing Myoma Market in Naypyidaw. The Karen National Union is an armed political organisation representing the aspirations of the Karen people in Burma. KNU denied the claim of Aung Ko Latt’s involvement with its organisation.
He was charged with four different counts including under Article 17/1 of the Unlawful Association Act and The Explosive Substances Act. The military-backed government in Burma uses Article 17/1 of the Unlawful Association Act to ban people from associating with pro-democracy groups. He was tortured and forced to confess while remained in detention for nearly 9 months in Insein Prison. In March 2012, He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and he is in Thayet Prison.
Burma Campaign UK is highlighting the case of a different political prisoner every month to draw attention to hundreds of political prisoners still in jail. The political prisoner for this month is Aung Ko Latt.
Genuine political progress cannot be achieved while democracy activists remain behind bars and the rights of ethnic people continue to be ignored. The unconditional release of all political prisoners is an essential first step in a transition to democracy in Burma.
“The international community is talking up the positives and ignoring the fact that while Thein Sein releases some political prisoners, he decides to keeps hundreds in jail,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “The military-backed government in Burma should release Aung Ko Latt and all remaining political prisoners unconditionally, and compensation should be provided.”
Burma Campaign UK supporters are being asked to write a letter to Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire asking him to pressure the military-backed government to secure the immediate unconditional release of all remaining political prisoners in Burma. Solidarity letters can also be written and sent to Thayet Prison where Aung Ko Latt is imprisoned.