Activists' families denied overnight passes in Myitkyina

Dec 12, 2008 (DVB), Local authorities have made it more difficult for the families of activists detained in Myitkyina prison to visit by refusing to issue guest passes to them to allow them to stay with local friends.

In recent weeks the Burmese authorities have transferred dozens of activists to remote prisons around the country, making it difficult for their families to visit them.

In Myitkyina, Kachin state, families have not been able to stay in the homes of friends or acquaintances because the local authorities have refused to issue the passes required for overnight guests, according to a source close to the family of one of those detained.

"They have to stay in guesthouses with support given by the National League for Democracy," said the source, who did not wish to be named.

"The money they have brought with them is not enough."

He also said the prisoners had not been given the blankets and mosquito nets donated by the Red Cross.

The source added that 88 generation student Hla Myo Naung, who is being held in Myitkyina, is suffering from eye problems.

But Ma Nyein, sister-in-law of comedian and activist Zarganar who is serving a 59-year jail term in Myitkyina, said the family's last visit to the prison went well.

"We got to see him for about an hour and we could give him parcels," Ma Nyein said."He is well. He told us to send things to people in Putao jail. We were able to give him blankets, mosquito nets and medicine," she said.

"The weather is fine for him as he likes the cold."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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