Saturday, February 13, 2010

NLD Vice-Chairperson Tin Oo released

Saturday, 13 February 2010 20:56 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) - Tin Oo, Vice-Chairman of the National League for Democracy, was released late today as his six-year term of detention expired.

Tin Oo, a founding member of the National League for Democracy and close confidant of Aung San Suu Kyi, told Mizzima via phone immediately after his release that he is not particularly happy as many of his colleagues are still in jail.

When asked about his view on the upcoming 2010 elections, he said that he, along with other democracy activists, would continue to work for the restoration of democracy in Burma.

“We have not reached our goal of achieving democracy in Burma. So, we have to continue the struggle peacefully,” he said.

Democracy supporters welcomed the release of the NLD leader but cautioned it does not show any signs of leading to imminent change in Burma.

“Burmese democracy activists are regularly released when the generals want to score points with the international community, and are then arrested again later. Even the release of more than a thousand political prisoners would only take us back to 2003 levels, when U Tin Oo was jailed,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of the London-based Burma Campaign UK.

Meanwhile, Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, is set to arrive in Burma on Monday on a five-day visit. He is expected to meet with Burmese political leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Retired Commander-in-Chief Tin Oo, along with party General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi and followers, was ambushed by a pro-junta mob near the town of Depayin in Sagaing Division on 30th May 2003 during an organizational tour. After the attack he was detained in Kalay prison in Sagaing Division and then placed under house arrest in February 2004 under the law ‘Safeguarding the State from the Danger of Subversive Elements’.

The National League for Democracy won the 1990 elections but was denied their right to form a government. The NLD recently expanded its central committee from 11 to 20 members. The expansion in leadership followed detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi being allowed by Burmese military authorities to meet with ailing and aging top leaders of the party, including Tin Oo, last December. Tin Oo was previously kept under house arrest from 1989 to 1995.