Political prisoners denied family visits

Jan 12, 2009 (DVB), Families of political inmates in various remote prison across Burma said they were refused permission to see their detained relatives after travelling miles across the country to visit them.

A family member of 88 generation student member Than Tin, who is serving 65-year jail term in Sittwe prison, said authorities should have told the family in advance that Than Tin would only be allowed visitors every two months.

"We waited in Sittwe for two days for approval from the authorities to see him but it didn’t work out in the end as they told us family visits will only be allowed once every two months," the relative said.

"They told us Ko Than Tin was well but we are still worried and frustrated as we spent a lot of time and money to get there to see him."

Ma Nyein, the sister-in-law of the comedian and activist Zarganar who is being held in Myitkyina prison, was also denied permission to see her brother-in-law.

"Prison officials there just rejected our request to visit Ko Thura without giving any reason," Ma Nyein said.

"It made us feel sad to see the prison walls, knowing he was on the other side of them," she said.

"We just wasted our time, money and energy."

"The prison accepted the items we brought for him."

Sports writer Zaw Thet Htway’s wife May Zaw said her journey to Taunggyi in Shan state had also been in vain as prison officials refused her permission to visit her husband.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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