EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 16/03/98
UA 63/98 Fear for Safety/Fear of Ill-treatment 2 March 1998
MYANMARU Ohn Myint, age 81
Amnesty International is concerned about the safety and whereabouts of U Ohn
Myint, an advisor to the National League for Democracy (NLD), Myanmar’s major
opposition party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. U Ohn Myint was also a friend
of the late General Aung San, the Burmese national independence hero and father
of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. O Ohn Myint was detained at about 11.30pm on 23 February
1998 for questioning and has not been heard from since. It is not known where
he is being held or what, if any, charges have been made against him.
Ill-treatment, particularly during initial interrogation of political
prisoners, is common in Myanmar.
On 1 March the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the new name of
Myanmar’s military government) conducted a press conference alleging recent
“terrorist plots and subversive activities” and naming some 40 people who were
allegedly involved in plans to detonate bombs and assassinate members of the
government. It is believed that these named people were arrested in late 1997.
In the press briefing U Ohn Myint was accused of collaborating with others
in producing and illegally distributing articles entitled “History of the
Student Movements, Me and They and Witnesses to History”. The SPDC stated that
the articles were “largely exaggerated and biased accounts of events based
on a few facts”. No further statements are known to have been made about the
articles, or about U Ohn Myint himself.
U Ohn Myint had been previously arrested in June 1997 at the same time as several
NLD members, and released unharmed in late July 1997. His name and the name
of several NLD members were mentioned in a June 1997 press release given by
Myanmar’s military government. In the government press statement they were
accused of obtaining a videotape of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and arranging for
it to be taken out of the country.
Amnesty International is also concerned that U Ohn Myint, who is 81 years old,
should be receiving immediate and regular access to proper medical treatment.
On 15 November 1997 the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC, Myanmar’s
military government since September 1988) reorganized and renamed itself the
State Peace and Development Council. According to reports the changes were
made because of widespread corruption among some members of the government,
who were subsequently expelled. However, the government’s policies appear
generally unchanged, particularly with regard to human rights, and far-reaching
repression of people opposing the government continues.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
-calling on the authorities to immediately make known the whereabouts of U
Ohn Myint and any charges against him;
- calling on the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally
if he is being held solely for his peaceful political activities;
- calling on the authorities to ensure that while detained U Ohn Myint is not
ill-treated and is held in conditions which meet international human rights