Writer Zaw Thet Htway arrested

Jun 16, 2008 (DVB), Sports writer Zaw Thet Htway, who has been helping distribute aid to cyclone victims, was arrested on Friday, according to a family member who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The family member said that Zaw Thet Htway was arrested while he was in Minbu visiting his mother, who had suffered a stroke.

"When he arrived in Minbu on Thursday, he was told by the township authorities not to leave the town until further notice," the family member said.

"They arrested him the next day and transferred him to Aung Thabyay interrogation centre in Rangoon."

Zaw Thet Htway had spoken to DVB while in Minbu before his arrest, and said he had decided to take a break from talking to foreign media to prevent unnecessary conflicts with authorities in his aid work.

"I’m now visiting my mother , she just had a stroke on her lower body," he said.

"And I will be heading back to Rangoon tomorrow to donate the rest of the supplies to the victims."

Zaw Thet Htway’s wife Ma Khine Cho, the editor of Living Colour magazine, said the authorities had searched their house in Rangoon at around 8pm yesterday and seized several items.

"About seven government officials from Bahan township and police Special Information Division officers came with ward authorities and searched our house yesterday evening," Khine Cho said.

"They seized his mobile phone, a PC, a couple of computer discs and some documents. I was not so worried when my husband was first arrested but it made me nervous that the authorities were searching our house," she said.

"I asked the police officials in my house why my husband was arrested. But they just said it had nothing to do with his aid work and told me not to ask them questions."

Zaw Thet Htway was previously arrested in July 2003 after publishing a story about the misappropriation of funds by Burmese authorities.

He was sentenced to death for treason, but his sentence was commuted and he was released from detention after 18 months.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw and Naw Say Phaw

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