69 Political Prisoners Freed, Includes Naw Ohn Hla

Burma’s President, U Thein Sein, amnesty on November 15 saw the release of 69 political prisoners, including Naw Ohn Hla.

Naw Ohn Hla who was imprisoned for two years because of her involvement in leading protests against the Letpadaung Copper Mining Project, a Chinese copper mine operating in the Sagaing Region.

Naw Ohn Hla spoke to Karen News.

“I was arrested unjustly and was imprisoned unjustly. Now they [authority] granted me amnesty without me having to sign any commitment paper. Even if they ask me to sign, I will not do it.”

Naw Ohn Hla said that the president’s amnesty should not be used as political ploy by the government, but it should be the goodwill of the government with intention to release all political prisoners in Burma.

Naw Ohn Hla was charged under section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law and section 505 (b) of offences against the State or against the public tranquility. She was tried at Monywa Township’s court on August 27 and was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor on August 29.

While she was in Monywa prison, Naw Ohn Hla protested by fasting for 15 days, before she was transferred to Mandalay Prison.

Ko Bo Kyi, the joint secretary of Assistance Association for Political Prisoners told Karen News that all political prisoners have to be freed.

“The president has said that he will release all political prisoners by the end of this year. The recent release is only part of what the president has promised.”

Ko Bo Kyi added that although political prisoners are being released, the AAPP’s records show that there are still as many as 60 political prisoners in jail and there are 265 currently facing court in Burma.

The president’s official website stated on November 15th that the political prisoner verification committee will continue their work in identifying political prisoners in order to release all of them by the end of December 2013.

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