Celebrations as prisoner of conscience released!
Sutton Coldfield Amnesty Group are celebrating the release of our adopted prisoner of conscience, Myo Min Zaw.
Myo Min Zaw was a student studying English in Myanmar (Burma). He was a leading member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, an unlawful organisation in Myanmar. He was involved in staging small, peaceful demonstrations to protest against the poor quality of education and the human rights situation. He had signed letters to the public appealing for support prior to demonstrations. He was arrested on 14th September 1998 and accused of agitating unrest. He was sentenced to 38 years imprisonment, subsequently increased to 52 years. He was later moved to a prison far from his family.
He was released as part of a prisoner amnesty involving at least 130 political prisoners on 13th January 2012.
Sutton Coldfield Amnesty Group have been campaigning on behalf of Myo Min Zaw for many years. We recently organised a large postcard campaign which involved several hundred postcards bearing Myo Min Zaw's photograph and calling for his release being sent to the authorities in Myanmar.
Linda Heggie, our Prisoner of Conscience Caseworker, said: 'It was absolutely wonderful news to hear that our adopted Prisoner of Conscience, Myo Min Zaw, had been among those released from prison by the Myanmar authorities. We have been campaigning for this man's release since 2007, along with other groups in the UK and abroad. So often we have received negative news about the human rights situation in Myanmar over the years, so this has really given our group cause to celebrate. We hope that our petitions and letters to the authorities appealing for our Prisoner of Consciences' release go some way to help protect them while in custody. We will be adopting another Prisoner of Conscience and welcome all those who would like to contribute to writing appeals, whether it be through our group, or via e-mail contact. Thank you to all those who have contributed at our various events.'
More than a thousand political prisoners, including many prisoners of conscience, are thought to remain behind bars in Myanmar. Amnesty International is calling for the prisoner amnesty to continue until they are all freed.