Detained Shan leader at risk of blindness

Jul 31, 2008 (DVB), Detained Shan leader Sao Hso Ten of the Shan State Peace Council is at risk of losing his eyesight after developing cataracts, according to a source close to his family.

Sao Hso Ten's daughter learned of his cataracts when she visited him last week, the source said, and his family is very worried about him.

"He's starting to lose his sight, and there's a chance he might go completely blind within the next two years if he doesn't receive medical treatment," the source said.

"He seems a little depressed and is worrying about his condition."

The Shan leader's family has written a letter to senior authorities asking for him to receive immediate medical attention, but has so far received no response.

Sao Hso Ten is currently being held in Khandee prison in Sagaing division, where he is serving a 106-year sentence.

He was one of eight Shan leaders arrested in February 2005 after attending a meeting between opposition and ethnic groups in Shan state and given long-term prison sentences for discrediting the military government.

One of the eight, Sai Myint Than, died in Sandoway prison in Arakan state in 2006.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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