Friday, 3 October 2008

Veteran NLD MP Arrested - Ohn Kyaing

The Irrawaddy News

Ohn Kyaing, a veteran Burmese journalist and elected MP who has already spent almost 15 years in prison for political activity, was arrested by the Special Intelligence Police Unit at 10 p.m. On Wednesday night at his home in Rangoon, according to a National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman.

Ohn Kyaing, 64, is also the chairman of the NLD Cyclone Relief Committee and a member of the party’s organizing committee in Mandalay.

“We knew he was involved in cyclone relief activities,” said Nyan Win, a spokesman for the NLD. “But we don’t know why he was arrested.”

According to the NLD spokesman, Ohn Kyaing became actively involved in relief efforts for survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which swept the Irrawaddy delta on May 2-3, destroying homes and villages, and killing at least 134,000 people.

Ohn Kyaing graduated in journalism in 1972 and worked as the assistant editor then editor of Kyehmom (“The Mirror”), followed by positions at national newspapers Hanthawaddy and Botathang. He wrote under different pen names, such as Maung Chit Phwe, Aung Wint and Aung Tint.

Standing for the NLD in Mandalay in the 1990 election, Ohn Kyaing won a parliamentary seat in the party’s landslide victory. However, the Burmese military regime refused to recognize the result of the election.

Ohn Kyaing was imprisoned in September 1990 and sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for “writing and distributing seditious pamphlets and threatening state security.”

He was released on January 3, 2005, from Toungoo prison.

The Burmese military authorities have recently arrested several well-known social activists who were involved in relief efforts after Cyclone Nargis, including comedian Zarganar, journalist Zaw Thet Htwe and the chief editor of the Myanmar Tribune weekly journal, Aung Kyaw San.

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