30 October 2007

burmese youth leader zaw htet ko ko under threat of torture...

Ko Ko never believes in violence. He believes in fighting for human rights in a non-violent way. I'm very proud of my son."
U Aung Myint, father of Zaw Htet Ko Ko, speaking to Amnesty International shortly after his son's arrest on 13 October...

zaw htet ko ko is a young member of the 1988 generation students group...the 26-year-old father of one was arrested along with five other individuals on 13 october in a continuing crackdown by the military authorities...amnesty international has no information on where they are being detained, but is seriously concerned for their safety as they are at grave risk of torture and ill-treatment...

zaw htet ko ko, htay kywe, mie mie, aung thu, and aung gyi and were involved in the early protest marches in august, but were soon forced into hiding as the authorities launched a manhunt for those they perceived as the leaders of the protests...on 21 august, 13 key activists of the 88 generation students group were arrested in an overnight operation...

during august and september, the authorities were reported to have raided zaw htet ko ko's home up to five times and repeatedly threatened and harassed his family in yangon...

according to his father, u aung myint, zaw htet ko ko has a quiet demeanor and has always been interested in human rights...
"Ko Ko is low-profile, he stays in the background. I've never really talked to him about politics because I've had bad experiences about politics. However, my son is very interested in politics and human rights. I used to send him e-books on these subjects and he'd in turn share the books with his friends."

working against heavy censorship of all forms of information flow in myanmar, zaw htet ko ko was an internet enthusiast, keen to access world news and to communicate with the outside world about what was happening in his country...

u aung myint, a refugee who has settled in the netherlands after leaving myanmar in the aftermath of the brutal crackdown on the 1988 pro-democracy demonstrations, recalled once asking zaw htet ko ko whether he had considered the consequences of his activism...

the answer from his son was as absolute as it was brave: "Yes, I've considered everything, about dangers. If I don't do what I'm doing, who will do it for the Burmese people?"

u aung myint is now very worried his son's situation in detention...

"I've told him to take care of himself, to be prudent, but I think he's being tortured."

take action now:
release all prisoners of conscience and all individuals detained under the crackdown...

tomorrow - the ghosts of abu ghraib...

peace out <3

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