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AI condemns detention of at least 2

Subject: AI condemns detention of at least 220 pro-democraty activists

>From:	CCPNGW::"owner-amnesty-l@xxxxxxxxxxx" 28-MAY-1996 16:28:55.21
To:	<boilley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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News Service 98/96
AI INDEX: ASA 16/20/96
24 MAY 1996


Amnesty International today strongly condemned the detention
of some 220 pro-democracy activists -- mostly members of
parliament-elect -- by the military authorities over the past
four days.

      ~It is outrageous that these pro-democracy activists
were arrested simply for planning to attend a meeting next
week,~ Amnesty International said today. ~The military
authorities may have described the round-up as a ~pre-emptive
measure~, but it clearly shows their inability to tolerate
any form of dissent.~   

      Amnesty International welcomes the public condemnation
made by the Australian, Japanese, British and US governments,
but is calling on more governments -- particularly members of
ASEAN -- to put pressure on the Myanmar authorities about
human rights concerns during Myanmar~s Year of Tourism.

      Most of those arrested are members of parliament-elect
of the National League for Democracy (NLD, the opposition
party founded by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) which is planning a
meeting at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi~s home to mark the sixth
anniversary of its victory in the elections. The meeting is
to take place from 26-29 May.  The arrests have been widely
seen as a attempt by the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC, Myanmar~s military authorities) to prevent
the meeting from occurring. Amnesty International is
concerned that the military authorities have arrested a
further nine NLD youth activists today.

      The scale of these arrests is the largest to take place
in Myanmar since the mass detentions in 1990. The current
wave of arrests began on 20 May and at last report is still
continuing throughout the country. Amnesty International has
obtained the names of 101 of those who have been arrested and
believes that the numbers of those detained are likely to

      The authorities have apparently not brought charges
against members of  the group, who are being detained at
unknown locations around the country. It is likely that they
are being held in incommunicado detention, which in Myanmar
is a standard practice before political detainees are tried
and sentenced. Amnesty International is concerned that the
MPs could be facing torture and
ill-treatment and seeks assurances from the Myanmar
authorities that they have access to proper medical care,
their families and lawyers.

      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. It is also seeking information about the
whereabouts of all those detained and the exact charges
against them.


Tension in Myanmar has mounted recently between the SLORC and 
the NLD. Attacks against the NLD in the government-controlled
press have increased markedly.

      According to reports, the SLORC stated publicly on 23
May that the activists are being held for questioning and are
not in fact imprisoned.  The SLORC also stated that they were
being treated well. The reason given for their detention was
that  they had taken a ~confrontational stance~ with regards
to the SLORC.  It is unclear from government statements
whether the activists will be released shortly or whether
they will continue to be detained. 


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