Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network has launched a petition campaign calling for the release of the group’s leader and founder Aye Myint who is serving a life sentence after being charged with plotting a bomb attack in Rangoon four years ago.
Myint Aye was arrested in August 2008 in connection with an assault on the Union Solidarity and Development Association’s offices in Rangoon’s Shwepyithar township in July of that year.
The activist was later convicted by a court under the Explosive Act, Immigration Act and the Unlawful Association Act.
The HRDP’s Maung Maung Lay said the group’s members have been collecting signatures in eight administrative regions across the country for the petition that will be sent to President Thein Sein and international human rights organisations.
“So far, we’ve collected over 4,000 signatures in [Irrawaddy Division]’s Bassein and are getting more in [Mandalay]’s Myingyan and Rangoon,” said Maung Maung Lay.
“We are also preparing to appeal to the Supreme Court to review his case.”
He said the group has collected 8,000 signatures but hopes to have 50,000 in total before delivering the petition.
“U Myint Aye was not the bomber; he’s a human rights activist,” said Maung Maung Lay.
“When the government is carrying out reforms in the country, political prisoners especially human rights activists must be released unconditionally, otherwise the reforms are questionable.”
Since taking the reins of the government in March 2011, President Thein Sein has ordered five amnesties that facilitated the release of hundreds of political prisoners.
However, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) claims 311 political dissidents remain behind bars in the country.
Myint Aye is currently serving his life sentence in Karenni State’s Loikaw prison. Two HRDP members Yan Shwe and Zaw Zaw Aung, who were charged along with Myint Aye, remain incarcerated as well.