INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: The Round-Up Continues: More Nld Activists Put

Published: Wed 27 Oct 2004 11:10 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS RANGOON 001409
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, DRL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV BM NLD
SUBJECT: THE ROUND-UP CONTINUES: MORE NLD ACTIVISTS PUT
BEHIND BARS.....AGAIN
REF: RANGOON 1257
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The SPDC's round-up of the NLD's elected
Members of Parliament continues, with more jail sentences and
general harassment. An estimated 150 of the original 392
elected members remain free, but most of them have left their
home communities and are living sub-rosa around Rangoon. End
Summary
2. (SBU) In northern Shan State, local authorities
succeeded in getting Sai Tun Aung of the Shan NLD to quit his
post in early August. However, U Than Htay, an elected MP
from Lashio, resisted the pressure. This led local
authorities to arrest him in mid-August on four trumped-up
charges involving the "illegal" sales of audio visual
equipment and a cordless telephone. Both were purchased from
a legally registered electronic shop that belonged to Than
Htay's son, who was detained at the same time. On October
25, father and son were both sentenced to five years in jail
and hard labor plus fines of kyat 20,000 (approximately USD
20). Two drivers who worked at the son's shop were also
arrested and sentenced to three months in jail.
3. (SBU) In another recent case, U Thet Wai, chairman of
the NLD in Sanchaung Township, Rangoon Division, was picked
up on September 21 and charged with, "inciting the general
public to cause disorder that can affect government or public
peace and tranquillity." In fact, his crime was his
friendship with U Ohne Thant (see below), the lone protester
who was arrested in front of the United Nations Development
Program's office in Rangoon on September 21 (reftel). On
October 25, U Thet Wai was sentenced to two years in jail.
4. (SBU) As for U Ohne Thant, he too was sentenced on
October 25 to two years in jail by a Special Tribunal inside
Insein Prison. U Ohne Thant is not a member of the NLD, but
had close personal ties to U Thet Wai. He has also been very
active over the years with Burmese students.
5. (SBU) Comment: The Government is clearly targeting the
NLD's elected Members of Parliament. Estimates of the
numbers in this group vary, depending on whether those who
have "resigned" or been "deregistered" (total of 170) are
counted. The NLD, which has expelled 25 of its own elected
members for disciplinary reasons, does not recognize
"resignations" or "deregistrations" on the grounds that only
Parliament has the authority to accept such changes. A close
observer of this ever shifting group estimates that 150 of
the 392 who were elected to Parliament from the NLD in 1990
are still active. Most members of the group have left their
home communities and are thought to be living sub-rosa in or
around greater Rangoon. End comment.
Martinez
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