UN rights envoy Quintana meets political prisoners

Feb 18, 2009 (DVB), The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, met five political prisoners including two elected representatives in Insein prison on 16 February.

Elected MPs Dr Tin Min Htut and Nyi Pu were recently sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for signing a letter to the UN, along with three other representatives, stating that they did not accept the military regime's election plan.

Quintana also met were All Burma Federation of Student Unions leader Kyaw Ko Ko, Punami (also known as Mya Nyunt) and young rights lawyer Nyi Nyi Htway, according to Aye Win, spokesperson for the UN Development Programme office in Rangoon.

"On Sunday he went to Karen state [by] helicopter. He met with the [Karen National Union peace council [a splinter group of the KNU] and went to the Payagon region," Aye Win said.

"In the evening, he went to Pa-an prison, and the following morning he went to Myainggyingu and met with the [Democratic Karen Buddhist Army] and local authorities," he said.

"Then he returned to Rangoon for meetings with diplomats and went to Insein prison where he met five people."

When asked if Quintana planned to meet detained National League for Democracy leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo or other prominent political prisoners, Aye Win said the special rapporteur had asked to see many people but it was not yet clear if he would be allowed.

Quintana was appointed to his post as special rapporteur on human rights in Burma in May 2008 by the Human Rights Council.

He has been in the country since 14 February for a six-day mission to assess human rights developments since his last visit in August 2008.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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