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Health fears for detained Shan leaders

Dec 11, 2007 (DVB), Eight Shan leaders who are currently serving long-term prison sentences, including Shan Nationalities League for Democracy secretary Khun Htun Oo, are said to be in poor health.

SNLD spokesperson Sai Let said that the men's health has worsened due to poor prison conditions, isolation and lack of good nutrition.

The eight leaders were arrested on 9 February 2003 and were sentenced to up to 106 years' imprisonment each for discrediting the military government.

Ethnic student leader Sai Nyi Moe, who has suffered from hemorrhoids since before his arrest, has seen his condition deteriorate due to the lack of nutrition and medicine in prison and his family is extremely worried about his symptoms.

Sai Let called on prison officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide urgent assistance to Sai Nyi Moe.

"We need emergency help and assistance from prison medical officials and doctors and from the ICRC, and we are hoping the ICRC will take action," he said.

The eight are serving their sentences in different prisons around the country, some of them in remote places with cold weather in winter, and this has exacerbated their health problems.

Khun Htun Oo, who is serving a 93-year sentence in Puta-O prison, Kachin state, has been suffering from gout which has worsened since his detention.

General Hso Ten, patron of the Shan State Army-North, was sentenced to 106 years in Khamtee prison in Sagaing division.

Sai Nyunt Lwin was sentenced to an 85-year prison term and is currently being held in Kalay prison in Sagaing division.

Sai Hla Aung is serving 75 years in Kyaukphyu prison in Arakan state, while Sai Htun Nyo is being held at Butheetaung prison, Arakan state, Sai Myo Win Tun is in Myinchan prison, Magwe division, and Sai Nyi Moe is serving his sentence in Pakokku prison.

Sai Myint Than from the Shan New Generation group died last year in Sandoway prison where he was serving a 75-year sentence.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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