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Family asked to pay for prison transfer

Jan 24, 2008 (DVB), U Win Maung, who was given a prison term for joining last year's public protests, is still being held in a police cell six weeks after he was sentenced, his wife said.

Former Peace and Development Council chairman U Win Maung from Yan Aung Myai, Arakan state, joined the public demonstrations in September and was arrested on 27 November.

He was charged with unlawful assembly and offences against the public tranquility under sections 142 and 505(b) of the penal code and sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment on 5 December.

But U Win Maung has still not been transferred to the prison where he is due to serve his sentence, and instead remains in a small cell in Man Aung police station, where he is only allowed to shower twice a week and his family must provide his meals.

Daw Yee Yee Cho, U Win Maung's wife, said that she had urged Man Aung police officials to arrange for him to be transferred to Kyauk Hpyu prison, which would be less cramped than his current conditions, but they had refused.

"When we asked the police to send him to Kyauk Hpyu prison, where he should have been, they just said, 'Not now'," Daw Yee Yee Cho said.

"Then we heard from a source close to the police station that they have to keep him at Man Aung because there is no budget for the transfer."

Assistant sergeant Win Mwin told Daw Yee Yee Cho that if she wanted him to be transferred more quickly, she would have to pay for it herself.

The family has instructed lawyers to prepare an appeal on behalf of U Win Maung.

Reporting by Naw Say Paw

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