Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Burma’s freed political prisoners must have full rights restored: AI


Wednesday, 19 September 2012 13:13 Mizzima News   

The release of 514 prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, is a positive step towards ending arbitrary detention in Burma, but there are still people in prison who were arbitrarily detained, Amnesty International (AI) said on Tuesday.

Political prisoner and NLD member Nay Win addresses reporters after he reached the National League for Democracy headquarters following his release from detention in Rangoon on Monday, September 17, 2012. Photo: AFP

“We renew our call on the government to urgently set up a mechanism - with assistance from the United Nations and participation from civil society - to review the cases of all prisoners to determine the true reason for their arrest,” said AI.

Among those released on Monday were foreign nationals and around 90 political prisoners, including Khin Kyi aka Zin Min Aung, whom AI had recognized as a prisoner of conscience.

Khin Kyi is a member of Generation Wave and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in 2008 for peaceful political activities. It is likely that the number of political prisoners confirmed as released will rise over the coming days and weeks, said AI.

The presidential amnesty was granted under section 204(a) of the Constitution and section 401(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a form of conditional release which allows the authorities to re-imprison individuals without warrant to serve the remainder of their sentence if the authorities believe they have not fulfilled the conditions of their release.

In recent amnesties, some prisoners have been released on condition that they do not engage in political activities, AI said.

It said that the government must ensure that all those released are allowed to exercise fully their human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

All those who had been detained solely for peaceful activities must in addition have their freedom of movement within the country and abroad guaranteed, it said.

It is also vital that the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission initiate prompt, effective, independent, and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture or other ill treatment made by those who have been released, said AI.

Those suspected of committing torture and other human rights violations should be prosecuted in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards, and victims and survivors should be provided with reparations, the statement said.

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