Four journalists released under junta's amnesty
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||18 September 2009|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Four journalists released under junta's amnesty, 18 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ab892971e.html [accessed 29 January 2015]|
"I am happy to be free and I am going to continue working as a journalist," Eint Khaing Oo said as she was freed today from Insein prison, near Rangoon under an amnesty announced by the military government for nearly 7,000 detainees. Three other journalists, Kyaw Kyaw Thant and Monywa Aung Shin, were also among those known to have been released today.
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association call on the Burmese government to free all the journalists, bloggers and free speech activists still in Burma's prisons, as they have no reason to be there. At least 14 are still being held, most of them of their far from their families and in appalling conditions.
Eint Khaing Oo, who worked for the magazine Ecovision, had been awarded the Kenji Nagai prize by the Burma Media Association. The prize is named after a Japanese cameraman killed by a soldier in Rangoon in 2007.
She was given a two-year jail sentence for taking photos of the victims of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated much of Burma in May 2008 leaving at least 130,000 dead or missing. She was not allowed a lawyer at her trial, which took place behind closed doors.
Kyaw Kyaw Thant was arrested in 2008 for helping Cyclone Nargis victims to contact United Nations representatives in Rangoon. Monywa Aung Shin, a poet who worked as a journalist for the magazine Sar Maw Khung and who was also a member of the opposition National League for Democracy, had been held since September 2000.
Thet Zin, the editor of the now-closed Myanmar Nation magazine, was freed from Kale prison. Arrested in February 2008 for possessing a video of demonstrations and a copy of a report by a United Nations rapporteur, he had been serving a seven-year sentence imposed under the press law.
The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said journalist and opposition activist Aung Gyi was also released from Shwebo prison.
Commenting on the wave of releases, the prison director dared to say there are no political prisoners in Burma. According to Human Rights Watch, there are 2,200.