ABFSU aid workers remain in detention

Jun 23, 2008 (DVB), All Burma Federation of Student Unions released a statement on Friday expressing concern about seven ABFSU members arrested by government authorities while clearing dead bodies in the Irrawaddy delta.

The ABFSU said seven of its members, including group leaders Ko Linn Htet Naing and Ma Hnin Pwint Wei, were among the group of 19 people arrested in Bogalay township’s Thukhawady village while collecting bodies of cyclone victims.

Ko Linn Htet Naing and Ma Hnin Pwint Wei had been in hiding from government forces since their involvement in last September’s Saffron Revolution.

The other ABFSU members identified were Ko Shane Yazar Htun, Ko Phone Pyit Kywe and Ma Khin Nyein Chan Soe.

The 12 members of the group who were not from the ABFSU were later released by the authorities but the ABFSU members were held in Bassein prison.

An ABFSU member said people were afraid to show support for his colleagues.

"They are now facing problems getting their daily meal as no one dares to deliver food to them in detention , the authorities have threatened that they could be arrested too," he said.

"The government officials said the arrest was made due to information they received about the ABFSU members who had come to clear the bodies."

The group's statement called for the immediate and conditional release of ABFSU leader Ko Kyaw Ko Ko and all other political prisoners and of all aid workers arrested after Cyclone Nargis, including Ko Linn Htet Naing and Ma Hnin Pwint Wei.

The ABFSU also strongly denounced the government's sabotage of private aid work by arresting volunteers as a "cold-blooded crime".

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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