Five detained journalists freed

[Original title: Five detained Burmese  journalists freed. Source: Mizzima News]

Five Burmese journalists were recently released from imprisonment, of whom two have had their sentences commuted under a general commutation ordered by President Thein Sein, according to media reports.

Since the commutation order on 16 May 2011, more than 50 political detainees have been released from prisons across the country.

Poet and writer Lu Tin Win, 44, an 88-generation student member and Thaung Win Bo, 65, a former journalist of the state-run “New Light of Myanmar” were released on 17 May 2011.

Lu Tin Win, who participated in the pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks in September 2007, was charged under Section 505(b) (inducing crime against public tranquility) and Sections 145 and 147 (unlawful assembly) of the Penal Code and sentenced to four years in prison. He was released from Myeik Prison in Taninthayi Region.

Thaung Win Bo was released from Tharyawaddy Prison in Pegu Region, according to his family. He was arrested on 8 July 2008, and charged under section 17 (1) of the Unlawful Associations Act for reportedly sending news reports to his daughter, Voice of America (VOA) reporter Aye Aye Mar. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

A member of his family said that he was a travel writer and had no involvement in politics.

Zaw Tun, who worked on the Rangoon-based “News Watch Journal”, was stopped by police near pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s home in Rangoon in September 2008 and arrested. He was sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly obstructing the police.

Rangoon-based “Beauty Magazine” editor Nyan Lin Aung was also released from prison, according to a local editor there. Nyan Lin Aung was arrested for allegedly contacting the All Burma Federation of Students’ Union and Generation Wave which are underground pro-democracy groups.

Aung Tun Myint, a freelance journalist, was released from Sittwe Prison in Arakan State on 12 May 2011 after he had served his prison term, according to his mother. Aung Tun Myint was arrested for taking photographs of the 2008 constitutional referendum in Hmawbi Township in Rangoon Region and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on an immigration case.

So far, five out of a total of 22 political prisoners identified as journalists have been released, according to information compiled by Mizzima.

Before the recent releases, there were 2,061 political prisoners in Burma, according to information compiled by Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma. In accordance with the presidential commutation, all death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment and more than 14,600 prisoners are scheduled to be released from prisons across the country.

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Mizzima News (http://www.mizzima.com/) is a news organization headquartered in New Delhi, India, run by exiled Burmese journalists. A SEAPA partner, it aims to promote awareness about the situation in Burma and promote democracy and freedom of expression in the country.

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