KNU demand release of jailed leader

The Karen National Union says at the next round of ‘peace talks’ with the Burma government they will demand the release of Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung – the jailed KNU central executive member now serving a 17-year jail sentence in Burma’s notorious Insein Prison.

Padoh Saw David Taw, secretary of the KNU’s Peace Committee said.

“We will demand at the next meeting that the government release him.”

Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung is a member of central executive committee of KNU and also a committee member of the ethnic alliance, United Nationalities Federal Council.

Padoh Saw David Taw said that he did not know every minute detail of the case against Mahn Nyein Maung and noted that final charges have yet to make.

On the day following the ceasefire meeting between the KNU and the government delegation in Hpa-an town, hundreds of political prisoners were released, but despite government assurances, Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung was not among the released.

The next round of ceasefire talks between the KNU and Burma government delegation will be held within 45 days. Padoh Saw David Taw told Karen News that the KNU are now preparing issues for discussion for the meeting and Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung’s case will be an agenda item.

“We have to demand for the release of many people who have been jailed working for our organization [KNU], not only him. There are also villagers, who have been jailed because they gave us a meal, helped carry our loads or even gave us a glass of water – we will demand the release of all of them.”

A Karen woman and member of National League for Democracy, Naw Ohn Hla, told Karen News earlier this week that she will find a lawyer for Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung to help at his trial scheduled in the coming week.

Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung’s problems started in July 2010 when Chinese immigration officials in Kunming arrested him while he was traveling on a Burmese passport. Earlier he had been refused entry to Thailand and was sent back to China from Bangkok. China then deported him to Burma in August, where he was taken into custody and later sentenced to 17-years in jail Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison. Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung was charged with violating immigration laws and having connections with illegal organizations – the KNU and other ethnic opposition groups.

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