Daily News-November 04 - 2001- Sunday

  • NCGUB claims junta still holding over 3,000 political prisoners
  • WGAD Cites Arbitrary Detention
  • Bush Names Major Drug Producing or Transit Countries
  • Pegu Monastery reopened

  • NCGUB claims junta still holding over 3,000 political prisoners

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 3, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 1 November

    The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma [NCGUB] said today that there are as many as 3,000 political prisoners still remaining in jails. The NCGUB Human Rights Division today issued a detailed list of SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] political prisoners including 30 who needs immediate medical attention.

    Furthermore, it claimed 22 MPs are still languishing in the prisons and criticized the release of a few political prisoners by the SPDC military clique asserting it is still far from being over.

    DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] contacted U Zin Lin, NCGUB Human Rights Division chief, and inquired about the prisoners' situation. U Zin Lin, a member of Rangoon Division National League for Democracy [NLD] Staff Office and a leading member of the NLD prisoner protection group, was jailed from 1991 to 1997. He explained the following to DVB about NCGUB's prisoner list.

    [U Zin Lin] When the ICRC opened its office in May 1990, I went on a field trip for about a month as part of my assignment to collect the data of political prisoners inside various jails in Burma. I was able to give one set of documents to the ICRC and another set to the NLD.

    [Soe Win Nyo] According to the latest list that you have compiled, how many political prisoners still remain in the prisons?

    [U Zin Lin] Well, Amnesty International estimates between 1500 and 1800 political prisoners but according to the statistics that we have compiled the number of political prisoners exceeds 3,000. The reason being many NLD members were arrested under various pretexts in the districts and that number alone is over 1,000. Simply because they happened to be NLD members they were framed and arrested under the gambling, trade, and other laws. So if you put into consideration those arrested NLD and other opposition political party members then the number is well above 3,000.

    [Soe Win Nyo] According to ICRC's statistics there are only about 1,800 political prisoners in Burma.

    [U Zin Lin] Yes, that was the figure which included mostly the political prisoners detained under section 5-J of the Emergency Provisions Act. Some MPs, as you know, were arrested and sentenced under other laws. Because they are MPs and NLD members holding executive positions in the various state, division, and township NLD parties their names were included but the names of ordinary NLD members from far-reaching areas who were arrested for various reasons have not been included.

    [Soe Win Nyo] According to the breakdown of your list, 30 political prisoners currently need medical treatment, 22 are MPs, 90 are women, 66 had died in prisons, and the release of 60 have been overdue. Can you explain about the condition of some political prisoners that urgently need medical treatment?

    [U Zin Lin] Well, most are suffering from traumatic experiences. Among the worst is Dr Zaw Min, who could not even remember his family. The other one is Thiha Tint Swe from Myaungmya jail who was mentally affected. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 1989 and under normal circumstances without any reduction in his sentence he should have been released in 1999. At that time he was expecting to be released and with support from his family he health became much better. But when the time came for his release he was imprisoned again under Section 10-A of the Emergency Provisions Act which in turn made his situation deteriorate further.

    [Soe Win Nyo] What about ICRC's protection of political prisoners?

    [U Zin Lin] We learned that ICRC saw him once and gave him the necessary medicines. But unfortunately the ICRC did not follow up the case. He felt better when ICRC came but the situation returned to normal once ICRC left.

    [Soe Win Nyo] Well, the SPDC has been releasing political prisoners this year and the number has reached 170-180 prisoners. What is your view on that?

    [U Zin Lin] In my opinion, I think the SPDC lacks some goodwill in releasing the prisoners. They did not release the prisoners with a genuine desire but as a form of tool to let themselves out of a tight situation. [End of recording]
    WGAD Cites Arbitrary Detention

    By Zarny Win
    Irrrawaddy online

    November 03, 2001-The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has recently declared the imprisonment of seven political prisoners in Burma to be arbitrary, according to a statement released by the WGAD on October 26.

    In response to this declaration, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) based in Mae Sot, Thailand, has called on Burma's ruling military government to immediately and unconditionally release the seven prisoners. The AAPP sent the WGAD a petition in February of this year asking the UN group to review the terms of the prisoners' continued incarceration, noting that their extended sentencing was in contradiction to international law.

    "The WGAD's opinion will tell the regime that it is not acting in accordance with international law, and they (WGAD) have asked the country to rectify their position," said Ko Tate, secretary of the AAPP. He added that the AAPP is hoping the WGAD's recent opinion may increase political pressure on Burma's military regime to adopt a democratic system.

    The AAPP has said they will be releasing a statement soon concerning student leader Min Ko Naing's continued detention despite completing his original sentence. Min Ko Naing's case has been reviewed by the WGAD and his detention has also been deemed arbitrary.

    The group has already sent a petition to the WGAD asking for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's case to be reviewed as soon as possible. Suu Kyi remains under house arrest in Rangoon. The WGAD will review Suu Kyi's case at their November session.

    Between 1991-1997, the WGAD has declared the detention of over 1,300 prisoners around the world to be arbitrary. They have also ruled the detention of nineteen other prisoners to be legitimate. According to the WGAD, 335 of these prisoners have been released.

    Since 1993, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has authorized the WGAD to take up cases on its own when sufficient evidence exists that substantiates allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

    The WGAD not only attempts to free arbitrarily detained individuals but above all seeks to have governments adopt the necessary legislation that would prevent any new cases of arbitrary detention.
    Bush Names Major Drug Producing or Transit Countries

    Washington File
    02 November 2001

    (President sends annual list to Congress) (1960)

    President Bush has sent to Congress the annual list of countries that are major producers of illicit drugs entering the United States or whose territory serves as a transit route for such drugs.

    The list of countries, released by the White House November 2: Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia,Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos,Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand,Venezuela, and Vietnam.

    "I note," the president said, "that a country's presence on the list of major drug-transit countries is not an adverse reflection on its government's counternarcotics efforts or on the level of its cooperation with the United States."

    Among the reasons that major drug-transit countries are placed on the list, the president said, "is the combination of geographical,commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to transit despite the most assiduous enforcement measures of the government concerned."

    The only change to the list from the previous year is the removal of Cambodia.The letter also takes note of a number of countries, economies or regions of concern that are not "majors," but that met the statutory definition in the past, or could in the future.
    Pegu Monastery reopened

    Network Media Group

    Chiang Mai, November 3, 2001 -The monastery in Pegu, which was ordered to close after the religious riot occurred in Pegu, was recently allowed to reopen and monks learning Buddhist Scriptures in monastery were allowed to re-register on October 28 and 29.

    The monks re-registered in the monastery will be let stay at "Sasana Mandaing" and "Vipatsana" buildings. Although the monastery was allowed to reopen, authorities in Pegu ordered security forces to closely watch the movement of the monks, said an inside source.

    The monastery was ordered to close by authorities after religious riot occurred on October 18 and the monks who were learning Buddhist Scriptures were sent back to their hometowns even during the period of Buddhist lent.Some monks and security police got injured in October 18 riot and authorities had to issued curfew order in Pegu.Although some of the monks were amongst the arrested in the riot, the exact number of arrested monks has not yet known.

    Thirty-four prisoners who were arrested in the religious riots occurred in Pyi, Taunggu and Pegu were sent to remote Khamti prison and they reached Khamti on November 1, a source reported to NMG.