Cablegate: Burma: The Political Prisoner Revolving Door

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




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: The GOB has released prominent political
prisoner Ko Ko Gyi. However, authorities simultaneously
arrested three democratic opposition MPs-elect. The GOB
relentlessly continues to arrest pro-democracy leaders who it
fears might unite the Burmese opposition. End Summary.

2. (SBU) International media widely reported the release on
March 17 of prominent political prisoner, Ko Ko Gyi, a former
All Burma Federation of Students Union activist. An Embassy
employee spoke with a credible source who met Ko Ko Gyi
following his release and said he is in decent physical shape
and "excellent mental health."

3. (SBU) Also on March 17 the police Special Branch (SB)
re-arrested retired Lt Gen Kyaw Hsan, a 72-year-old NLD
divisional leader and MP-elect from Sagaing Division, who had
last been released from prison in November, 2004 (reftel). U
Lwin, NLD spokesperson, told an Embassy employee that Kyaw
Hsan, who reportedly has close ties with Karen factions, was
apparently arrested on the pretext that he had "illegally
imported goods" stored on his compound and/or he had hosted
"unregistered" guests at his Rangoon house.

4. (SBU) Also on March 17 SB agents took into custody U Kyaw
Min, a Rakhine MP-elect of the National Democratic Party for
Human Rights and member of the Committee Representing the
People's Parliament (CRPP). (Note: U Kyaw Min is currently
enrolled in the Global English course at the Embassy's
American Center. End Note.) According to Embassy sources,
SB agents thoroughly searched Kyaw Min's house and led him
away under a black hood, a standard practice of the
now-disbanded Military Intelligence. On March 20, the police
asked the family of U Kyaw Min to come and collect his
personal effects, an indication that he has been imprisoned.

5. (SBU) Comment: Including the arrest on February 25 of U
Kyaw Khin, MP-elect from Taunggyi, three MPs-elect have been
arrested in the past month. While the GOB may release the
odd political prisoner when it feels confident that the
person has been effectively neutralized, it is still
aggressively arresting pro-democracy MPs-elect, particularly
those who it believes have leanings toward forming a parallel
government or otherwise wish to unite the Burmese
pro-democracy opposition. End Comment.

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