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AP-Amnesty Seeks Release of Prisone

Subject: AP-Amnesty Seeks Release of Prisoner

Thursday July 29 6:50 AM ET

Amnesty Seeks Release of Prisoner

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - A human rights group has called for the immediate
release of a 3-year-old girl in Myanmar the group described as ``the world's
youngest prisoner of conscience.''

The girl was reportedly one of 19 people detained last week in a move by
authorities to stop an anti-government protest in the central city of Pegu,
also called Bago.

Eight of those detained were family members of one activist, Kyaw Wunna,
whom authorities had been unable to catch, Amnesty International said

The eight reportedly included his wife, Ma Khin Khin Leh, and their
3-year-old daughter Thaint Wunna Khin.

The government issued a statement today calling many of the group's
allegations ``untrue,'' but it appeared to stop short of denying that the
child was in detention.

``The government categorically rejects the allegation that a 3-year-old
child has been detained to force her father out of hiding,'' the statement

The arrests were first reported Saturday by the All Burma Students'
Democratic Front, a Myanmar opposition group in exile. An Amnesty
International official, Donna Guest, said that Amnesty verified the
detentions through non-ABSDF sources.

Asked earlier this week about the arrests, a government spokesman said
``some political extremists'' in the town were called in for questioning for
distributing political leaflets.

The spokesman said Kyaw Wunna was not among those detained, but did not
directly answer a question of whether his daughter had been detained.

``Locking up a young child - effectively holding her hostage to force her
father out of hiding - exposes the extent of the Burmese government's
ruthlessness in trying to stamp out political dissent,'' the London-based
human rights group said.

The organization also said detainees, especially young political activists,
are frequently tortured and ill-treated in Myanmar's detention centers,
particularly in the early stages of detention.

The military government of Myanmar, also know as Burma, has been harshly
criticized by human rights groups and Western governments for its
suppression of civil liberties and refusal to turn over power to a
democratically elected government.