THANK YOU! – A message from many of the political prisoners released on Friday.
On Friday, Burma’s regime released 651 prisoners from jail, including 302 political prisoners, many of which are prominent and high profile political prisoners: Saffron Revolution Monk Leader U Gambira, 88 Generation leaders Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Mya Aye, Jimmy and Nilar Thein as well as Shan ethnic political party leaders Khun Tun Oo and Sai Nyunt Lwin. There is much cause for joy and celebration for their families, friends and from Burma supporters around the world.
USCB Executive Director Aung Din, a former political prisoner himself, spoke with his friend Min Ko Naingafter his release from Thayet Prison. Min Ko Naing said he appreciates all supporters around the world for putting consistent and effective pressure on the Burmese regime for the release of political prisoners, genuine democratic change and national reconciliation in Burma. He requests all of us to continue our efforts.
The celebrations were mixed with uncertainty and sadness for those who remain behind bars and the conditions placed on those released.
Nearly everyone was released under a temporary suspension of their sentence, which could be reinstated whenever the regime wants to re-arrest them. Just released DVB journalist Sithu Zeya said it best: “it’s a release with a rope around my neck.”
Hundreds of political prisoners remain locked up and the regime refuses to release them. One day after the political prisoner release the regime’s minister for Home Affairs Lt. General Ko Ko announced from now onward, they will not address any claim of political prisoners.
U Gambira, a monk leader of the Saffron Revolution, said on his release that Burma “still has a long way to go. Although they are releasing prisoners now, they still have characteristics of the dictatorship. What kind of democracy is this?”
We must continue to fight until all political prisoners are released.