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Letter to SPDC's General Khin Nyunt

Congress of the United States
Washington. D.C 20515
May 5, 1998

Lt. General Khin Nyunt
Director of Defense Services Intelligence
Ministry of Defense
Signal Pagoda Road- Dagon Post Office
Rangoon, Burma

Dear Lt. Gen Khin Nyunt:

As co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, we are writing to
express our outrage over the extraordinary prison sentences that were
recently given to several democracy activists who were engaged in the
peaceful expression of their political views. In particular, we strongly
protest the 25-year sentence given to Ms. San San, the 15-year sentence
given to Mr. Aung Tan, and the sentences given to 40 student activists,
including death sentences given to six students.

Ms. San San, a former parliamentarian, was charged with conspiring to
overthrow the government after she gave a radio interview with the British
Broadcasting Service in which she was critical of your regime. Mr. Aung Tan,
a student leader, was charged with violating antiquated restrictions on
freedom of expression for writing a history of the Burmese student movement.
The forty students were engaged in peaceful political activists, including
an attempt to give a letter detailing your regimes' human rights abuses to
U.N. Special Envoy De Soto. They were falsely charged with plotting to
assassinate SPDC/SLORC leaders and with other "subversive activities."

The prosecution, imprisonment and possible execution of these individuals
for the legitimate exercise of fundamental political rights is an affront to
the values of civilized nations. These are, unfortunately, just the most
recent in a long line of baseless arrest followed by sham trials and
outrageous sentences, designed to weaken the democratic opposition to
SPDC/SLORC's authoritarian rule. We believe, however, that the spirit of
freedom and democracy of the Burmese people is stronger and more patient
than the forces of repression, and it cannot be jailed or killed.

We urge the SPDC/SLRC to immediately release these and thousands of other
political prisoners who fill Burma's jails, and we demand that you repeal
laws restricting fundamental freedoms of speech, thought and association
guaranteed under international law. Furthermore, we strongly urge you to
begin a serious dialogue with Daw Aung San Su Kyi and the National League
for Democracy concerning the reestablishment of democracy in Burma, and to
end the harassment of Burmese citizens who are peacefully asserting their
political rights.


(Signed by)                    (Signed by)
John Edward Porter       Tom Lantos
Member of Congress       Member of Congress