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AI's press release

>From:	CCPNGW::"owner-amnesty-l@xxxxxxxxxxx" 24-MAY-1996 01:43:36.85
To:	<boilley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

This News Service is posted by the
International Secretariat of Amnesty International,
1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ
(Tel +44-71-413-5500, Fax +44-71-956-1157)
Sender: Amnesty_International@xxxxxxxxxxx
Precedence: bulk

News Service 96/96
AI INDEX: ASA 16/15/96
21 MAY 1996


Amnesty International was appalled to learn that more than 45
pro-democracy activists -- mostly members of parliament-elect
-- were arrested in the past two days from their homes
throughout Myanmar.  

      ~It is shocking that these people could be arrested
simply for planning to attend a meeting,~ Amnesty
International said today. ~This is yet another example of the
authorities~ continuing attempt to silence any opposition in
the country.~

      According to reports, those arrested are members of
parliament-elect who won seats in the 1990 general election. 
However it seems that the wives of two MPs were arrested in
their stead, as the MPs were not at home at the time. Some of
the MPs are reportedly held under house arrest and some have
been taken in for interrogation. Reports indicate that
arrests are likely to continue over the next few days. 

      Amnesty International fears that the MPs could be
facing torture and ill-treatment in custody. The organization
is seeking assurances that they are given proper access to
family, lawyers of their own choice and medical personnel.

      Tension in Myanmar has mounted recently between the
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC, Myanmar's
military authorities) and the National League for Democracy
(NLD, the political party founded by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
which won the 1990 elections).  Attacks against the NLD in
the government-controlled press have increased markedly.  

      The NLD had planned a meeting of elected
representatives at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's home to mark the
sixth anniversary of its victory in the elections. The
meeting was to take place from 26-29 May.  The arrests have
been widely seen as a pre-emptive attempt by the SLORC to
prevent the meeting from occurring. According the most recent
NLD statement, the meeting is still going ahead.

      Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and
unconditional release of all those arrested solely for
exercising their right to freedom of expression and
association. The organization is also seeking information
about the whereabouts of the all those detained and the exact
charges against them

This latest series of arrests is the largest in a SLORC
crackdown on NLD members and supporters. Since November 1995,
when the NLD withdrew from the SLORC-controlled National
Convention, there has been increasing harassment of the party
by the SLORC, including arrests of dozens of party members.
Many people have been detained for possessing videotapes of
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's weekend speeches, others for writing a
poem commemorating the death in custody of an NLD colleague,
still others for satirizing the military in an NLD



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