A National League for Democracy member, Naw Ohn Hla, told Karen News that she will find a lawyer for Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung, the jailed Karen National Union leader currently serving a 17-year jail sentence in Burma’s notorious Insein Prison.
Naw Ohn Hla said she met briefly with Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung at a special court session held in Insein to sentence him on January 19.
Naw Ohn Hla detailed her brief meeting with the jailed KNU central executive member for Karen News.
“I had a chance to give him a little food. We couldn’t talk much as we met under the careful watch of the authorities. But I will try to arrange a lawyer for him as he is due to go to trial again in the coming week”
Naw Ohn Hla said being kept in jail had affected Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung’s health.
“He looked and said he felt sick … his face showed strain and he was unhappy about being handcuffed. I requested the jail authority to unlock the handcuffs so he could feed himself some rice. I told the authority that Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung will not try to escape and I would be his guarantee. After that they took the handcuffs off for a short while – Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung told me needed medicine – he looked miserable. ”
Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung told Naw Ohn Hla that he had read in the Burmese media that he would be released as a ‘peace present’ from the government to the KNU.
Member of the KNU delegation who had attended the official ‘peace talks’ said that Railways Minister, Aung Min promised the KNU on January 12th at the meeting that Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung would be released. Interior Minister Lt. Colonel Ko Ko, went back on the ‘promise’ when he told reporters that authorities in charge of Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung case would deal with in ‘accordance to the law’.
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.
In 1967, Padoh Mahn Nyein Mung was jailed and charged with political related crimes and sent to Ko Koe Kyun detention camp – a notorious island in southern Burma in the Andaman Sea. Padoh Mahn Nyein Mung escaped with two other prisoners crossing the sea in a small boat. He has written and published a book about his experiences – Against the storm, crossing the sea – under his pen name of Ye Baw Shoune.