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Foreigner Arrested in Burma
Date: May 8, 1998
Foreigner Arrested In Burma for Demanding Democratic Reforms
A British/Australian citizen was arrested on April 30, 1998, by
the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in southern Burma
for crossing into Burma illegally and demanding and end to
military rule in Burma.
James Rupert Russell Mawdsley, 25, was arrested in Moulmein,
south of Rangoon. Mr. Mawdsley had intended to get arrested in an
attempt to meet SPDC military leaders and discuss human rights
abuses in Burma.
Mr. Mawdsley left a telegram with officials from Karen National
Union (KNU) near Moulmein in which in part stated, "I love Burma.
I want to see Burma as a free and peaceful country. If the SPDC
also wants Burma peaceful, they should start to talk with the
democratic groups". Mr. Mawdsley had asked KNU and ABSDF
officials to send the telegram to the media after his arrest.
KNU and ABSDF members attempted to persuade him not to enter
Burma, but Because Mr. Mawdsley was so determined people felt
compelled to help him. Mr. Mawdsley told his friends that he
would demand the release of all political prisoner, the end of
repression against ethnic nationalities and the introduction of
democratic reforms in Burma.
Mr. Mawdsley entered Burma through KNU territory shortly after
the Buddhist new year in the middle of April. He carried with him
publications, materials and literatures of pro-democracy groups
and intended to distribute them inside the country.
Mr. Mawdsley left his British passport, credit card, an expired
air-ticket and a few belongings with a friend of his at an ABSDF
camp on the border. The Foreign Affairs Department of the ABSDF
will hand over his belongings to the British Embassy in Bangkok
early next week.
This was Mr. Mawdsley's second attempt to attract attention of
the Burmese military and the international community to plight of
the people of Burma. In October 1997 he went into Burma on a visa
and shouted pro-democracy slogans by handcuffing himself to a
school railing before being arrested and deported.
All Burma Students' Democratic Front
For more information please call 01-654 4984
Text of Mr. Mawdsley's telegram:
My name is James Mawdsley. I am a British/Australian citizen. I
have spent two and half years studying about Burma, traveling
around England, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. I have been
to Burma once. I support the restoration of democracy in Burma. I
believe that the SPDC is a group of terrorists and that Burma
shouldn't be ruled by the regime. The country's problems should
be solved through a dialogue with the NLD who won the 1990
election, and the ethnic people who are struggling for democracy.
I will explain to the SPDC the plight and expectations of Burmese
refugees, namely the Burmese students in exile and groups such as
the Karen, Shan and Mon.
I love Burma. I want to see Burma as free and peaceful country.
If the SPDC also wants Burma peaceful, they should start to talk
with the democratic groups. However, the Burmese army continues
human rights abuses throughout the country, such as the detention
of political prisoners and the oppression of ethnic groups. I
believe that Burma shall gain democracy through the efforts of
the entire people of Burma.
I entered Burma without a passport. My plan is to get arrested by
the SPDC authorities in Moulmein. I will distribute anti-SPDC
leaflets and cassette tapes. Therefore, I asked Pado Manh Soe
Tint to send information about me to U Than Htun for the media. I
plan to get arrested on 29th or 30th April 1998.