Thu 28 Sep 2006
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Yangon: Pro-democracy activists and family members on Thursday expressed concern for three former student leaders detained by Myanmar’s junta, and said they anxiously awaited further news of their fate.
Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe were taken away by the authorities early Wednesday ahead of a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party.
No reason was given for the detention of the three pro-democracy activists, all in their 40s, who led a bloody student uprising in August 1988 to demand an end to the military dictatorship.
“He didn’t come back yet. We worry for him. We have been hoping since yesterday,” a family member of Min Ko Naing told AFP on Thursday morning.
A colleague of Ko Ko Gyi said the authorities came on Wednesday night and took the activists’ clothing and toothbrushes.
“Family members and colleagues might do something. There will be a result, but now we are still waiting,” he said. Activists frequently send letters to the authorities appealing for the release of their jailed colleagues.
Lwin, a spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said he had not heard anything about the release of the three men, all of whom have spent at least a decade in prison in the past for their protests against the military government.
“We have walked for 18 years through this difficult situation,” Lwin told AFP.
“We have to be survivors if we want to do politics in this situation,” he added.
A government official on Wednesday told family members not to worry for the three activists and promised to release them after they had met with the authorities, a student activist told AFP.
The August 1988 student uprising ended when troops opened fire on the protesters, possibly killing thou-sands according to some estimates.
The three former student leaders were on Wednesday scheduled to attend a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the formation of the NLD party at its Yangon headquarters.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a 61-year-old Nobel peace laureate, has spent 10 of the last 17 years under house arrest, locked in her home in Yangon.
The United Nations has estimated there are some 1,100 political prisoners in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military since 1962.