Marm Sat Khaing
An Arakanese political prisoner known as Ko Naing Soe (a) Mae Lone who is still being held in Pakokku Prison and four others have been awarded a “Nonentity Hero Prize”.
The prize presented by Burmese living in exile was awarded to each of those five people in a ceremony that was held to mark the National Day on 8th of December in the head office of the National League for Democracy in Bahan Township in Yangon.
Ko Naing Soe’s father who received the prize on behalf of him told Narinjara that he is happy as well as sorry for his son.
“I am happy and proud of my son for receiving this prize. On the other hand, I feel sorry for him because he is still in prison and unable to receive this prize himself while other people have received their prizes themselves”, said his father.
Nearly 150 people including U Win Tin and Saya Maung Wantha from the NLD and former political prisoners attended the prize-giving ceremony.
Ko Naing Soe’s father said he has witnessed the political prisoners released from the prisons group after group since the U Thein Sein-led new government took power last year, but he has been feeling very sorry for his son because he was never included among those released.
“My son has been arrested and imprisoned during the reign of the military government. It is now the civilian government ruling the country and it should free all political prisoners including my son arrested and imprisoned by the former military regime. I think it should free all political prisoners if it is really undertaking the democratic reforms and ethnic unity in the country”, he said.
The four other persons who have received the prize are U Soe Myint, Aung Thiha, Late Thein Htike Aung and Ma Phyu (a) Ma Chaw Su Hlaing. The prize is a medal of the “Nonentity Hero” and kyat 1 million cash.
Ko Naing Soe was arrested along with 10 other Arakanese youths in 2009 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison on the charges of connecting to the banned All Arakanese Student and Youth Congress in exile, possessing explosives and violating the Unlawful Association Act.
Ko Khine Kyaw Moe, one of Ko Naing Soe’s colleagues who were freed from the prison last year, also said the present government should release all political prisoners including Ko Naing Soe who still remain in the prisons.
“I am happy for awarding this prize to Ko Naing Soe. It has also spotlighted that the political prisoners are still remaining in the prisons. We would like to urge the present government to free all of them if it is a real civilian and reformist government because they have been arrested and imprisoned during the reign of the former military regime”, said Ko Khine Kyaw Moe.
Ko Naing Soe’s father said he had seen his son in the prison two months ago and found that his son has been now suffering from severe pains on his joints and backbone and from shortsightedness because of the torture he endured during the authorities’ interrogations.