AAPP and FPPS Response to the Governmental Satement (11/2014)
November 3 2014
AAPP and FPPS, since establishment, have verified backgrounds, case files, and verdicts of each and every political prisoner and documented the list of political prisoners in accordance with our definition of political prisoner.
We have also analyzed as thoroughly as we can whether there was a free and fair trial, legal protection, the right to defense and the crimes accused on them were really committed or not. We repeatedly call for unconditional release of all political prisoners by the list we documented.
It is vivid that the response in the government’s newspapers is neither positive nor contributing to the national reconciliation. Moreover, it is a purposed attempt of the existing government to defend the former military regime for its arbitrary and lawless arrests and heavy imprisonments.
AAPP and FPPS have incessantly been trying for the release of all political prisoners and actively cooperating with other committee members in the Verification Committee for Remaining Political Prisoners which was created by the President in February 2013. However, it is found that the government has not fully coordinated.
We welcomed the release of more than 300 political prisoners with the accord of the Verification Committee, but among thirty remaining political prisoners we submitted, we have found that only three were released and 27 still remain behind bars. Hence, we have resubmitted the list of 27 remaining political prisoners to be verified again and released, but the government now responds in the state-owned newspapers that they have had their political charges freed and the remaining prison terms are due to the criminal court verdicts.
We have asked the Verification Committee to verify again if they did commit the other crimes and at the same time we found out that the other crimes charged against them were in fact related to political reasons, extremely heavy imprisonment, the crimes charged against them were groundless or no free and fair trials. Besides, we found that some of those 27 prisoners are members of the organizations that have achieved a ceasefire accord and are now working for peace with the government.
Regarding the definition of political prisoner in the Verification Committee, it is agreed that any individuals receiving imprisonment for political reason should be considered as political prisoner. So we verified and submitted prisoners who fit in with that workable definition.
We have also found that the list of political prisoners submitted by the committee to the president included some criminals convicted in drug cases, excluded in our list and were released despite our objection.
The government’s response in the state-owned newspapers is believed to target AAPP and FPPS. This appears that the government is quite unhappy with our activities.
We have documented the political prisoner list based on available information with no bias and almost no error and so we declare that the 27 remaining prisoners mentioned in the response of the government’s newspapers are continually regarded as political Prisoners.
Besides, we strongly call for their immediate release with recognition as political prisoners.
By the meeting of AAPP and FPPS working committee members dated Nov 2, 2014
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
Former Political Prisoners’ Society (FPPS)
Tate Naing (AAPP) – Phone – +66(0)81-2878751
Bo Kyi(AAPP) – Phone – +95-(0)9-425308840
Ye Aung (FPPS) – Phone- +95(0)9-49590495