Saw Wai denies responsibility for anti-junta poem

Feb 21, 2008 (DVB), Detained poet Saw Wai said yesterday that the editor of Achit Journal chose to publish his controversial poem despite it being rejected by the censor board.

Saw Wai made the claim to his wife, Ma Nan San San Aye, who was allowed to visit him in Insein prison for the first time yesterday.

"Apparently he told government officials during interrogation that the poem had already been rejected by the censor board before it was published in Achit Journal," Nan San San Aye said.

"He said that the journal’s editor, Myat Khine, knew publishing the poem in his journal would increase sales, and so decided to publish it anyway and said he would take the consequences."

Nan San San Aye said her husband had asked her to write a letter to the authorities explaining the situation.

"We are going to make an appeal to senior government leaders and explain to them what happened," she said.

A journalist from Rangoon said that the editor had known that Saw Wai would be punished for the poem.

"Myat Khine deliberately did that just to get Saw Wai into trouble," the journalist said.

"He has a lot of connections with senior government officials."

Myat Khine responded angrily to the claims made by Saw Wai.

"Which bastard made such an accusation? You will never know what really happened until you ask Saw Wai," he said.

On hearing that the accusation came from Saw Wai, Myat Khine denied any responsibility.

"No. We published the poem as we received it from Saw Wai," he said.

Saw Wai was arrested on 22 January after a poem he wrote with a hidden message that read "megalomaniac Than Shwe" was published in the Achit Journal the day before.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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