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AI Urgent Action

EXTERNAL  AI Index: ASA 16/31/97
EXTRA 147/97   Fear of torture/ill-treatment /Possible
prisoners of conscience    
31 October 1997
               Daw San San (f)
               U Soe Myint
               Dr Than Nyein, NLD Member of Parliament-elect
               Win Win Htay alias Ma Po (f)
               Daw May Win Myint (f), NLD MP-elect
               Khin Maung Myint
               U Win Thaung
               U Mya Thaung
Eight people, arrested on the night of 28/29 October 1997, are
feared to be at risk of torture or ill-treatment, common
during interrogation in Myanmar.  Seven of the detainees are
leading members of the National League for Democracy (NLD),
the opposition party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
On the morning of 28 October the NLD attempted to hold a
meeting at its Mayangone township office on the outskirts of 
Yangon, the capital (see below). However, the security forces
set up barricades and blocked Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters
from meeting with her.  A number of them were rounded up and
trucked several miles away where they were then released.  The
seven NLD leaders and one other, named above, are still
believed to be in detention at an unknown place.
Daw May Win Myint, NLD Divisional Organizer and Member of
Parliament (MP) elect from Mayagone, was arrested by Military
Intelligence Officers at 10pm on 28 October after they had
taken documents from her.  Also at 10pm, Khin Maung Myint, NLD
Central Youth member and Secretary of Latha Township, was
arrested by a combined force of Military Intelligence and
other security personnel.  Daw San San, the NLD Seikkan
Divisional Vice-Chairman and NLD women's leader, was arrested
at midnight after documents were taken from her.  At the same
time, Win Win Htay, a member of the Yangon NLD Youth Division,
was arrested after security forces seized documents from her.
U Soe Myint, the Chairman of the Thaketa NLD, was arrested at
1am on 29 October.  One and a half hours later, Dr Than Nyein,
an MP-elect from Kyauktan township, was arrested after a
combined group of Military Intelligence and other security
forces had confiscated documents from his home.  U Win Thaung,
the Chairman of the Mayangone NLD, was arrested sometime late
in the evening of 28 October or in the early hours of 29
October.  U Mya Thaung, who is the landlord of the Mayangone
NLD office, was arrested at around the same time.
The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Myanmar's
military government, has subsequently accused the NLD of being
"confrontational" and of attempting to embarrass the SLORC in
front of the international community. On 30 October the SLORC
stated that it had detained four NLD members for questioning,
but did not identify the four.  The authorities further
claimed that the four were breaking the law by holding the
The 28 October meeting had been planned in order to reorganize
the Mayangon Township's NLD youth wing. The previous week, on
21 October, Aung San Suu Kyi had travelled to Thaketa, outside
of Yangon, in order to meet NLD youth members there. The
authorities did not prevent her from holding the meeting, and
they also allowed the NLD to hold a national party congress in
late September for the first time.  However, the latest
crackdown on peaceful political activity has diminished hopes
that the SLORC is becoming more tolerant of NLD activities.   
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/ faxes/
express/airmail letters in English or your own language:
- calling on the authorities to immediately make known the
whereabouts of the eight detainees and the charges against
them, and to release all eight immediately and unconditionally
if they are being held solely for their peaceful political
- urging that the detainees be protected from any form of
torture or ill-treatment and granted immediate and continuing
access to their lawyers, doctors, and family members, in
accordance with international standards. 
Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, Secretary 1
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Director of Defence Services Intelligence (DDSI)
Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Khin Nyunt, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21316
Faxes: +95 1 229 50
Salutation: Dear General
Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Director of Defence Services (DDSI)
Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Than Shwe, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21316
Salutation: Dear General
COPIES TO:  diplomatic representatives of MYANMAR accredited
to your country.