“Bless those fighting for justice”: Heartwarming message to Amnesty supporters from Dr Tun Aung

By Ben Beaumont

Earlier this year, prisoner of conscience Dr Tun Aung was released after spending two-and-a-half years in jail in Myanmar. He’s just sent this moving message to Amnesty supporters.

Greetings to all of Amnesty International, including its executives, members and supporters. I am overwhelmed by all the support and activities done by Amnesty to secure my release. I am also very grateful for Amnesty’s continuing support and assistance.

I have been following Amnesty’s work for decades. I first came to know about it for its fight on the release of political prisoners of Cuba. In those days, it was almost impossible to accomplish such feats.

 

God bless all who work to relieve the suffering of the downtrodden and bless those who are fighting for justice in this world.
Dr Tun Aung

 

When I was arbitrarily arrested and sentenced, Amnesty was the first organization I thought of and I hoped in some way it will work for my release. When I first met the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights situation in Myanmar, Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, I mentioned Amnesty to him.

Later, in Sittwe and in Insein central prisons, I started receiving some letters from Amnesty International members. It was the first flicker of light in my dark days. I truly believed Amnesty will do all it can for my release. Only after my release, I was amazed to know the magnitude of Amnesty’s work for my release.

Beyond imagination

I felt privileged to be part of the global letter-writing campaign in 2013-2014. All those activities are beyond my wildest imagination. The extent of the campaign and hundreds of personal letters written to me and my family made me very emotional and humbled.

I owe so much to those who have bestowed such unbelievable care and support towards me and my family. I sincerely support your continuing efforts in freeing other prisoners of conscience and wrongfully imprisoned individuals across the world.

God bless all who work to relieve the suffering of the downtrodden and bless those who are fighting for justice in this world.

Peaceful activist Dr Tun Aung was jailed in 2012 after trying to calm a crowd during a riot in western Myanmar. He was sentenced to up to 17 years’ imprisonment under various trumped-up charges, but was released in January 2015.

But the story doesn’t end there. Myanmar continues to jail human rights defenders, journalists, land activists and farmers simply for peacefully exercising their human rights. We are still calling for the release of dozens of other prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including the Unity Five.