Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Political Prisoner Released in Myanmar

In Yahoo News they posted a news article regarding the liberation of a political prisoner by the name of Win Tin, a journalist.

Here you have it with, some comments:

Longest-held political prisoner freed in Myanmar

2 hours, 39 minutes ago

Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner, journalist Win Tin, was freed Tuesday after 19 years behind bars and vowed to continue his struggle to achieve democracy in the military-ruled country.

The Basque political prisoner Joxe Mari Sagardui "Gatza" has been incarcerated in Spain for 28 years. Spain is also a military-ruled country due to the fact that Juan Carlos Borbon (the true ruler) has a military education and acts as the commander in chief of Spain's military forces. Every four years the Spaniards are allowed to vote for Borbon's second in command, a mere minister.

Win Tin's release came as part of an amnesty granted Tuesday to 9,002 prisoners around the country. It was not immediately clear how many of those released were political prisoners. Amnesty International said last month there were 2,050 political prisoners in Myanmar.

Spain sentenced members of two Basque organizations seeking amnesty for the Basque political prisoners to 10 years of incarceration. So, far from considering the release of political prisoners Spain is actually expanding the amount of Basques in Spanish jails.

The amnesty came just days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the junta's deadly crackdown on anti-government protests that were led by Buddhist monks. The U.N. estimated at least 31 people were killed when the army fired on peaceful protesters in the Sept. 26-27, 2007 crackdown, sparking global outrage.

The 78-year-old Win Tin said he would continue to wear his light blue prison uniform as a show of protest against the junta, which has ruled Myanmar for 46 years.

"I have to continue with my unfinished task of trying to achieve democracy in Myanmar," Win Tin told reporters at a friend's home in Yangon after his release from the notorious Insein Prison. He appeared alert and healthy despite recent reports that he is ill.

Asked how it felt to be out of prison, Win Tin replied, "I will be happy only when all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, are released."

A longtime journalist and poet, Win Tin became active in opposition politics and helped found Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy opposition party in 1988. He was a close aide to Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is currently under house arrest.

Win Tin was arrested on July 4, 1989, during a crackdown on opposition politicians. Tried in a military court, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for allegedly being a member of the banned Communist Party of Myanmar.

Last week, Spain banned two Basque political parties, including the Communist Party of the Basque Lands (EHAK for its initials in Euskera, the Basque language).

He was most recently sentenced in March 1996 to an additional seven years' imprisonment for writing to the United Nations about prison conditions and for writing and circulating anti-government pamphlets in prison, which authorities characterized as "secretly publishing propaganda to incite riots in jail," the statement from London-based Amnesty said.

Iñaki de Juana was sentenced to an additional two years of imprisonment for writting to articles of opinion regarding the prison conditions for Basque political prisoners. Today Spain asked the Interpol for the whereabouts of Iñaki de Juana citing a letter read the day of his liberation from jail. Spanish authorities characterized the letter "as terrorism apology". London-based Amnesty is keeping quiet about the rabid persecution against de Juana even after he completed his jail sentence beyond the grace time given to all other prisoners in Spain.

The United Nations and international rights groups had repeatedly called for the release of Win Tin and referred to him as the longest-serving political prisoner in Myanmar.

The United Nations has never called for the release of Basque political prisoners in Spain and France. The United Nations has never referred to Joxe Mari Sagardui, Nathalie Meningon and Briggitte Mohnhaupt as the longest-serving political prisoners in Europe.

While incarcerated, Win Tin had two heart attacks, a hernia operation and suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes and spinal inflammation, according to international media groups.

The infamous Guardia Civil tortured Basque journalist Peio Zubiria who suffered of Ankylosing Spondylitis, then a judge ordered him imprisoned. Just last week Martxelo Otamendi who was arrested along with Zubiria during an operation against Basque newspaper Egunkaria took his own torture demand to Strasbourg. Many Basque political prisoners who suffer of terminal illnesses have been denied the early release as marked by Spanish law.

State-controlled media announced the prisoner amnesty Tuesday, saying that freedom was granted to prisoners around the country who exhibited good "moral behavior."

"The government is trying to transform these convicted prisoners into citizens who can contribute to the building of a new nation," the Myanma Ahlin newspaper said, adding they were released "so they could participate in the fair elections to be held in 2010."

Spain puts Basques in jail for contributing to the building of a new nation, the Basque Country.

The elections are part of the junta's long announced "roadmap to democracy," which will give voters the first chance to cast ballots since 1990.

Critics say the roadmap is a sham designed to cement the military's power.

In 1990, Suu Kyi's opposition party won a landslide victory that the junta refused to acknowledge. Instead, the generals stepped up arrests and repression of dissidents. Suu Kyi has spent more than 12 of the past 19 years in detention, mostly under house arrest.

The government often grants prisoner amnesties to mark important national days, but usually most of those released are petty criminals.

Good thing Spain is considered to be a democratic state while Myanmar is largely seen as a military dictatorship.

.... ... .

No comments:

Post a Comment