Maungdaw: The present U Thein Sein-led Burmese regime has tried to deceive the country, as well as the world’s communities, by freeing very few numbers of political prisoners locked in jails across the country, said the Arakanese monk leader, U Ithariya.
U Ithariya was jailed for his leading role in the Saffron Revolution in 2007 and was recently released from Buthidaung Prison in western Burma’s Arakan State as part of the presidential general amnesty.
“Most of the important political leaders are still imprisoned as very few of them were recently freed. [The regime] has released the aging General Hso Ten, but they are still holding U Khun Tun Oo and student leaders including Min Ko Naing in the prisons. After hearing this, I realized the regime is trying to deceive the country”, U Ithariya said in an interview by Narinjara.
He said most of the recently released political prisoners are those who were about to complete their jail terms. The regime has released nearly 200 of those political prisoners with the intention of tricking the country and the world.
“I was sentenced to a 6 years and 8 months long prison term. I had already completed 4 years of my term in the jail and there will be no difference for me if I have to live in the jail for the remaining 2 years. Now the regime has announced that it has freed political prisoners, but most of those released are near to completing their respective jail terms. The regime has done this with the intention of tricking their own country as well as the international community”, he said.
He said that no one should be confident with the present regime as the political prisoners were released not due to genuine good will. Added to this is the fact that most of the political prisoners are still being held behind bars by the regime, and that it is necessary to continue to work for the freedom of those remaining imprisoned before thinking the regime's despotic reign was over.
When asked about the student leader Ko Htay Kywe who is still being held in the Buthidaung Prison, U Ithariya said he is not in a healthy condition.
“The health conditions of Ko Htay Kywe and 75 year old U Tun Nyo, who was jailed as part of the same case as U Khun Tun Oo, are not so good in the prison because the living conditions in the prison are very poor, but the prison authorities are providing all necessary medical care to them”, said U Ithariya.
However he did say that the overall situation in the Buthidaung Prison is not so bad and has improved after the appointment of a new in-charge in the prison, though it was very bad during the tenure of the in-charge U Sein Tun.
U Ithariya was forcibly disrobed from the Buddhist monkhood and sent to the prison by the regime due to his leading role in the Saffron Revolution. He has been ordained as a monk again just after he was released from the prison and is now temporarily staying in Maungdaw where his parents live.
He told Narinjara that he will continue his non-violent activism until genuine democracy prevails in his homeland.