Private tutor released after three years

Feb 19, 2008 (DVB), A private tutor from Twan Tay township, Rangoon division, has been released from prison after serving a three-year sentence, but has been prevented from renewing his tutor licence.

Private tutor U Aung Pe was arrested on 14 February 2005 for saluting the independence monument in downtown Rangoon while holding a picture of general Aung San the previous day, which was general Aung San's birthday.

Aung Pe was jailed for three years for violating the regulations governing private tutors.

He was released from Insein prison at around 10am on 14 February, exactly three years after he was imprisoned.

On his release, Aung Pe said he decided to walk the 17 miles back to Twan Tay township from Rangoon.

"On 16 February I started walking back to Twan Tay township from Rangoon, because I haven't been able to enjoy the delightful view of the outside world for three years," Aung Pe said.

"I just wanted to see the farmlands and breathe the fresh air outside."

Aung Pe added that his walk was also intended as a tribute to the other political prisoners who still remain in detention.

On his arrival in Twan Tay, town residents and his former students came to greet him while seven unknown government officials who had been following Aung Pe looked on.

Aung Pe said he would not be able to renew his private tutor licence because it had expired three days before his release.

"The government authorities knew that I was to be released on 14 February but they set the expiry date of my tutor licence for 11 February, so I could not do anything about it," Aung Pe said.

Aung Pe said he would concentrate instead on political activism, and vowed to continue teaching and providing free education for children.

"I hope that one day I will be able to raise my students to be new leaders for the country like general Aung San," he said.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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