Released on Friday from Insein prison after more than 10 years behind bars, Kyaw Ne Win, the grandson of former military strongman Gen. Ne Win, urged the Burmese government to release not only all the political detainees, but other convicts “who deserve to be free”.
Sixty-nine political prisoners were released from prisons across Burma on Friday after a presidential amnesty was declared on the recommendation of the government-appointed Political Prisoners Assessment Committee.
Among them were Kyaw Ne Win and Aye Ne Win, two grandsons of ex-dictator Ne Win, the military general who ruled Burma with an iron fist from 1962 till 1988.
Shortly before Ne Win’s death in December 2002, his son-in-law, Aye Zaw Win, was implicated in an alleged plot to overthrow the military junta. Along with his wife Sandar Win (well-known at the time as Ne Win’s favoured daughter) and his three sons (Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win and Zwe Ne Win), the family were each found guilty of treason and given suspended death sentences.
Sandar Win was freed in 2008 while Aye Zaw Win and Zwe Ne Win were released in a presidential amnesty in January 2012.
Speaking to the media in Rangoon after his release on Friday, Kyaw Ne Win said that the release of prisoners does not cost money from anyone’s pockets.
“There were many prisoners [I met in prison] who should be set free,” he said. “The president and the parliament are the father of the country. But prisoners are also members of that family.”
In an interview the same day, Kyaw Ne Win told Eleven Media that he had no plans to enter politics, however he said he would do whatever it took to stop foreigners “trespassing on Burmese territory, insulting our sovereignty, and damaging the role of the army,” as well as “protecting the country’s race and religion, and from secessions from the state”.
He reportedly told Eleven Media he regarded himself as a “military dog”.
“If a military commander or an officer offered his hand, I will offer mine,” said Kyaw Ne Win. “If he tells me to bite someone, I will bite.”