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Myo Yan Naung Thein's price for Burma's Freedom

Myo Yan Naung Thein, 34 years of age, graduated

Architect, French Language Instructor, Tourist Guide, and Former P.P is
one of the student leaders with his firm determination in restoration of
democracy in Burma.

Due to his leadership role in the 1996 December Student Demonstrations

he was sentenced to prison for 7 years by the military government in
1997 under Section 5/j of the Penal Codecompleting his sentence on 9
October 2002. He is one of the leading members of the 88-generation
student and he was working for democracy of Burma for a very long time
until his re-arrest in 2007.

After his release in 2002 he studied French becoming a French teacher,

he is very fluent in English, French and Spanish. He worked as a tourist
guide and his wife Aye Mya Nadi is a linguist, very fluent in Italian.

Myo Yan Naung Thein always played a vital role in the struggle for
freedom in Burma. He actively participated in the 2007 Saffron revolution.
Because of his political and democratic activities the military government
constantly monitored him very closely.

On 14th December 2007 about 20-30 policemen, soldiers and military

intelligences raided Myo Yan Naung Thein’s house re-arresting him
apparently, for being linked to activists who filmed the September'07
protests and for speaking to the exiled media.
Presently he is at Thandwe prison in western Burma miles away from his
hometown, serving his 2 years sentence under Section 505/b of the penal
code dictated at Pabedan Township Court and Insein prison special court
on 13 November 2008.

Due to this stressful situation his mother in her 70s is bed ridden
diagnosed with high blood pressure and a heart condition. She anxiously
expects the day of her son’s release from prison. His wife Aye Mya Nadi
was threatened with arrest.

On 28th January 2008, his mother saw him for the very first time after 6
weeks in detention, a heart-breaking scene when she saw him. The
inflicted torture by the Special Police and Swan-Ar-Shin (government
sponsored militias) during detention has caused him paralysis along his
left side body unable him to walk properly. Once a healthy and fit person
he has become a dependable person needing aid for walking. His crime,
being a freedom fighter, making him a prisoner of conscience.

In Burma, time sentences are life and death. There is no rule of law and
the laws are dictated by the generals to suit their moods.


Myo Yan Naung Thein is in urgent need of consistent neurologist

treatment. During detention following his arrest, he was tortured by
Special Branch and Swan-Arr-Shin junta sponsored militias. He was
severely beaten suffering head injuries. His nervous system appears to
have been affected, as he is suffering from paralysis along his left-hand
side of his body.

On 29 May 2008 his brother Myo Thein reported to the media that Myo
Yan Naung Thein’s medical condition was rapidly deteriorating. He was
vomiting daily and could not sleep. He required assistance to walk to the
visiting room to see his family on visiting days.
In May 2008 Myo Yan Naung Thein requested the prison authorities to
allow him to see a neurologist instead he was punished for his request
with two weeks solitary confinement in an Ayutheit cell, where prisoners
with mental problems are normally kept. He was reportedly given
medication for a mental health problem, even though his problem was
neurological not mental. Whilst he was in that cell he had to sit on the wet
floor as the roof of the building was not properly repaired following the
damage caused by the Nargis Cyclone.

As Myo Yan Naung Thein is unable to walk he was brought to court on a

stretcher for a brief court appearance on 26 June, he remained in

On 27 August 2008, his brother Myo Thein reported to AAPP, Myo Yan
Naung Thein's trial progress and that his health situation was being
treated at the hospital.

On 13 May 2009 Myo Yan Naung Thein’s health situation worsen and no
medical treatment was received for more than two months since he
complained about his deteriorating health situation.

His legs are stiff and cannot bend at all that people have to carry him to
move around. This is the new development of health build up apart from
his neurological problem. He cannot sleep nor eat well as consequence,
he has lost a lot of weight.

According to the neurologist, he needs to take medication regularly and

treat his illness appropriately.

"Whenever international attention divert from these vulnerable political

prisoners, they are treated very inhumanely [by the junta] and medical
treatment is ignored" said Kyaw Lin Oo, Director at the Burma Democratic
Concern (BDC) in Thailand.

“I am very sad to learn that in Than-Dwe prison, there is no doctor or

medics to look after prisoners. I am sure that this is the regime's
systematic attempt to kill political dissidents”, said Myo Thein, Director at
the Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) in United Kingdom.

Visiting him is very difficult for the family members due to natural
barriers. By coach it takes 2 days to get there, roads are very bumpy and
dangerous as they are built through mountains and jungles. Bus fares are
very expensive and trips are risky.

“The reason the military junta send political prisoners to remote prisons is
to extend punishment onto political prisoners' families”, said Khin Maung
Win, Director at the Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) in United States.