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Cablegate: Update On Recent Arrests in Rangoon

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS RANGOON 001277

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV
CINCPAC FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS BM
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON RECENT ARRESTS IN RANGOON


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: THIRTY PEOPLE, INCLUDING SEVERAL
RELATIVELY WELL-KNOWN POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AND AT
LEAST ONE FORMER NLD MEMBER, WERE ARRESTED IN
RANGOON ON SEPTEMBER 25. IT IS NOT CLEAR YET WHAT
CHARGES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT AGAINST THE THIRTY. THERE
ARE HINTS, HOWEVER, THAT THESE ARRESTS MAY BE PART
OF A MORE GENERAL SWEEP FOR ACTIVISTS IN RANGOON.
END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) THE STATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
(SPDC) ARRESTED ABOUT THIRTY BURMESE ACTIVISTS IN
RANGOON ON SEPTEMBER 25. RELIABLE SOURCES HAVE
CORROBORATED THE ARRESTS AND REPORTED THAT MILITARY
INTELLIGENCE CONFISICATED SOME PUBLICATIONS FROM THE
RESIDENCES OF THOSE WHO WERE ARRESTED. INCLUDED
AMONG THE PEOPLE ARRESTED WERE SEVEN RELATIVELY
WELL-KNOWN POLITICAL ACTIVISTS: ZAW PHAY WIN, YE
KYAW SWA, HLA HTUT SOE, U MYINT, YIN MAUNG, NE WIN
AND LWIN KO MAUNG. ZAW PHAY WIN HAS BEEN ARRESTED
SEVERAL TIMES SINCE 1988 AND WAS OPERATING A WELL-
KNOWN PRIVATE TUTORING SERVICE IN DOWNTOWN RANGOON.
FIVE OF ZAW PHAY WIN'S COLLEAGUES FROM THE TUTORING
SERVICE WERE ALSO AMONG THOSE ARRESTED. YE KYAW SWA
AND HLA HTUT SOE ARE OLD STUDENT ACTIVISTS WHO WERE
JAILED FROM 1989-94, AND THEN AGAIN IN 1996. SOME OF
THE ARRESTED ACTIVISTS WERE REPORTED TO BE CONNECTED
TO THE UNION OF BURMA DEMOCRATIC FRONT (UBDF), A
DEFUNCT POLITICAL PARTY ASSOCIATED WITH MOE THEZUN,
WHO WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR NEW
SOCIETY (DPNS). U MYINT WAS A FORMER NLD MEMBER.

3. (SBU) THESE ARRESTS MAY BE PART OF A CONTINUING
SWEEP FOR ACTIVISTS IN RANGOON. THERE WERE ALSO
REPORTS IN RANGOON ON SEPTEMBER 29 THAT SEVERAL
MONKS HAD BEEN ARRESTED. IN ADDITION, SINCE EARLY
SEPTEMBER, THE AUTHORITIES HAVE REPORTEDLY BEEFED UP
NIGHTTIME, HOUSE-TO-HOUSE CHECKS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE
UNREGISTERED OVERNIGHT GUESTS. IN BURMA, FAILING TO
REGISTER SUCH GUESTS IS ITSELF A CRIME.

MARTINEZ

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