Ohn Kyaing pledges to continue relief efforts

Dec 12, 2008 (DVB), Newly-released National League for Democracy member Ohn Kyaing has said he will finish his work assisting cyclone victims that was disrupted by his arrest.

Ohn Kyaing was released from Rangoon's Insein prison yesterday after being held without charge for more than two months.

Before Ohn Kyaing was arrested in early October, he had played an active role in the party's relief efforts following the devastating Cyclone Nargis which hit the country in May.

Speaking to DVB yesterday, Ohn Kyaing said he was not told in advance that he would be freed or given a reason for his release.

"At about 11am I was told to collect my things. I thought I was going to be transferred to another cell or prison," Ohn Kyaing said.

"I got my things together quickly and followed them. At the entrance to the prison, they told me that I was to be released," he said.

"They returned all the money they had confiscated from me and escorted me home into the arms of my family."

Although he was detained for more than two months, Ohn Kyaing said he was only questioned when he was first taken into custody.

"For the first three or four days I had to hold discussions with them," he said.

"After that they didn't do anything with me , they just kept me in Bago prison."

During his interrogation, Ohn Kyaing said he was asked about his political activities with the NLD and his duties as chair of the party's cyclone rescue committee.

"I told them I had been carrying out Nargis rescue efforts because my superiors had given me that responsibility and I am a native of Mawlamyinekyun in the delta myself," Ohn Kyaing explained.

"When I saw the suffering there, I felt great and genuine sympathy and I did my best physically and mentally, I told them," he said.

"As for politics, I said I really cared about national reconciliation and the emergence of democracy in accordance with the NLD's aims."

Ohn Kyaing lamented the time that had been lost from his relief work while he was detained.

"It was a waste of my time and it meant that my work on the rescue efforts was suspended," he said.

"I was acting in good faith and the task is not yet finished, and I will to continue to do what I have to do."

Ohn Kyaing, 64, who is also known by the nom de plume Aung Wint, is the MP-elect for Mandalay’s Southeast township and a researcher for the NLD.

He was arrested on 1 October at his home in Sanchaung, Rangoon and taken to Bago prison.

He was transferred to Insein prison at the end of November.

He had previously served a total of 15 years in prison before his latest arrest.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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