Families concerned about detained opposition leaders

Oct 11, 2007 (DVB), Families of high-profile political activists who have been detained over the past two weeks are worried that they have still heard no news on the whereabouts of their loved ones.

Daw Swe Swe Thein, wife of National League for Democracy spokesperson and elected member of the people’s parliament U Myint Thein, told DVB that she went to the police Special Branch office at 8 Mile junction on Monday with some medicine for her husband, only to be told by officials that they didn't know anything about his detention.

"I went to the Special Branch office to take some medicine and enquire about my husband’s situation as they are the people who arrested my husband. But officials there asked me to provide them with detailed information on which department [of the SB] made the arrest and who my husband was," Daw Swe Swe Thein said.

"I told them that I was the wife of NLD spokesperson U Myint Thein and that news of his arrest had been broadcast by government media. . . But they said they couldn't tell me anything."

Another well-known politician, ethnic leader [of Zomi National Congress] and elected member of the parliament, Pu Chin Sian Thang, was also arrested on 26 September and was assumed to be held at Aung Thabyay interrogation centre in Mayangon township, Rangoon. But his son, Tant Inn Byaik Thang, was told by officials on going to visit his father at the interrogation centre that he was not there.

"They didn’t even let me past the gates [of the interrogation center]. The guards there only told me my father was not there…. He needs to take medication regularly for his asthma and he will probably be out of medicine by now," said Tant Inn Byaik Thang.

Another member of parliament, U Htaung Kho Htan, who is also a member of the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament, was arrested by government officials who said he would only be kept for 2 to 3 days for questioning, but he has still not returned home, according to his daughter.

Daw Myint Myint Aye, secretary of the NLD party in Meikhtila township, Mandalay, was also reported arrested by local authorities recently, a family member told DVB.

Daw Myint Myint Aye had expected she would be arrested, and had packed her bags and waited for the officials who came to her house to make the arrest.

"She told the officials when they arrived at the house that she had known they were coming to arrest her. She grabbed her bags and followed them."

According to the NLD, at least 15 members of parliament have been arrested by the Burmese authorities during the recent protests.

Reporting by DVB

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