Fifth NLD arrest this month as junta uproots opposition activity

Mar 17, 2009 (DVB), A National League for Democracy member has been arrested in what one political prisoner expert believes is an attempt by Burmese authorities to destroy opposition activity before the 2010 elections.

Rangoon’s South Dagon Myothit township NLD member Kyi Lwin was arrested and taken away by authorities at around 1.30am on 16 March, party spokesman Nyan Win said.

"I was told around 30 policemen came to his house and arrested him," he said.

"His health is not good. He is over 50 and had a stroke."

Nyan Win said that Kyi Lwin had been an executive committee member but became an ordinary member due to his poor health.

Kyi Lwin is the fifth NLD party member to be arrested this month, along with Myint Myint San (also known as Ma Cho), Sein Hlaing, Shwe Gyo and Thein Lwin.

Bago division’s Paungde township NLD chairman Saw Maung was also interrogated and intimidated on 15 March by local police for attending a plenary meeting of party members.

"The authorities said they are holding the election in 2010," said Assistance Association for Political Prisoners' joint secretary, Bo Kyi.

"It seems that they intend to uproot and destroy all those who are [politically] active before the election.

"The NLD is a legal party in Burma and it has the right to rally freely," he added. "By unfairly destroying it, the [State Peace and Development Council] is doing the opposite of its slogan that it is substantiating democracy."

The number of political prisoners has doubled since the end of the monk-led protests in September 2007. According to AAPP, there are more than 2100 political prisoners in Burma.

"It proves that the country is not peaceful or stable," said Bo Kyi.

"If they want the country to be peaceful and want to solve political problems peacefully, all these political prisoners needed to be released immediately.

"At the same time, the arrests must stop."

Reporting by Thurein Soe

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