Prison takes its toll on veteran activist

Eight months into a 13 year and four month prison sentence, veteran activist Htin Kyaw is showing signs of mental strain.

The leader of the Myanmar Democratic Central Force group, Htin Kyaw has been locked up since late October, after 12 different courts found him guilty of causing public alarm— during a solo demonstration.

This week, the seasoned dissident appeared at a Rangoon courthouse facing additional charges.

Htin Kyaw appeared in good physical shape, but the veteran of 2007’s Saffron Revolution is under intense mental stress, according to his wife Than Maw Maw.

“He is in good health – he’s plump and physically well. He decided to stage a protest after uncovering a plot against his life in the prison. Someone who was involved admitted it to him, with all the details,” said Than Than Maw.

“He claimed the Minister of Home Affairs directly instructed this. [Htin Kyaw] is protesting by refusing to shave or have a haircut – he said he might consider shaving again when the minister resigns.”

Outside the courthouse, the jailed activist was characteristically fiery as he addressed supporters.

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Htin Kyaw called for voters to remove the country’s current rulers when they cast their ballots in November’s general election.

“I would like to remind our people to elect a government that takes responsibility for their well-being. Elections are a part of democracy and we the Myanmar Democratic Current Force express our support on the elections.”

Htin Kyaw’s moustachioed mutiny has continued for four months.

Amnesty International has called his jailing farcical and has campaigned for his release.

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