Sittwe: Only seven political prisoners from western Burma’s Arakan State were reportedly included among the nearly 300 prisoners released in the general amnesty on the 12th of October 2011 from prisons across Burma.
Ko Min Aung, from Taungok in southeastern Arakan State, who was sentenced to 17 jail terms, was released from the Kalay Prison in Sagaing Division.
“We have information that Ko Min Aung was released from the Kalay Prison and he will reach Taungok by tomorrow”, said one of his colleagues.
Ko San Lwin who is also from Taungok and was arrested on an informer’s tip that he was connected to Narinjara, and so sentenced to 5 years in jail, was also released from the Thandwe Prison in Arakan State.
Ashin Ithariya (a) Ko Aung Soe, one of the many famous political prisoners of Burma, was released from the Buthidaung Prison. He was arrested at Myoma Monastery in Maungdaw as he tried to escape to Bangladesh just after a crackdown on the Saffron Revolution. He was forcibly disrobed from the Buddhist monkhood and sentenced to 7 and a half years in jail.
“Four political prisoners including U Ithariya also known as Ko Aung Soe were released from the Buthidaung Prison. But the numbers of the released are very few and there are many political prisoners still kept behind bars. Political prisoners like Ko Htay Kywe and 75-year-old U Tun Nyo are still being detained in Buthidaung prison," said Sangyaunn Ko Ko Gyi, who was freed from Buthidaung Prison.
Two political prisoners known as U Kawvida and U Mrat Tun, who are natives of Pauktaw in Arakan State, were released from their respective jails as well.
U Kawvida was freed from the Tharat Prison after he was arrested on 4th October 2007 from the Ngwekyayan Monastery in Rangoon for his leading role in the Saffron Revolution and was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in the prison. U Mrat Tun was released from the Myaungmya Prison in Irrawaddy Division after he was arrested in 2008 at the army’s check-gate on Maungdaw-Buthidaung road on charges of reporting to exiled media.
Ko Naing Soe, son of U Maung Hla Phru from Nyaungchaung Village in Buthidaung Township, was also released from Bamaw Prison. He was arrested on the 18th of September 2009 after being accused of being connected to the All Arakan Student and Youth Congress based in exile. He was sentenced to 3 years in jail.
Ko Kyaw Won Chay, a representative of Arakanese youths in the Ethnic Youth Network Group (EYNG), was released from Tharat Prison. He was arrested on 20th January 2008 and sentenced to 9 years in jail, later his jail term was reduced to 6 years.