I am writing to you today regarding political prisoners in Burma. Despite the release of high profile political prisoners, hundreds of political prisoners remain in jail, and more activists are being arrested.
The international community must not forget those political prisoners still left behind in Burma’s jails.
Some of those recently released have been arrested and released on several occasions to try to avoid international pressure. In the recent high profile releases, activists actually had sentences suspended, they were not pardoned. If they are arrested again, they will serve the new prison terms, and the old prison term they didn’t finish serving will be added to it. The laws that put them in prison still remain in place.
There are still political prisoners in jail, kept in inhumane conditions. Many Kachin farmers have been arrested and tortured badly by the military-backed government in Burma. For example, Mading Zau Bawk was arrested by Burmese Army 37th battalion on a suspicion of being a solider from Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The KIA is the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation, which works for democracy and more autonomy for the Kachin people.
He is currently still on trial and he has been charged under the Unlawful Associations Act 17(1), which the military-backed government in Burma uses to ban people from associating with pro-democracy groups. According to a family member he has been suffering pain all over his body due to severe beatings and he has had trouble hearing.
Therefore, I urge you to pressure the military-backed government for the immediate release of Mading Zau Bawk and all the remaining political prisoners in Burma.
Activists and journalists continue to be arrested in Burma and political prisoners remain in jail. All the laws under which they were jailed remain in place.
Take action to free Burma’s political prisoners.