Six Imprisoned Arakanese Youth Freed in Presidential Pardon

Rangoon: Six imprisoned Arakanese youth were freed on Friday as part of the latest presidential amnesty, said one of their relatives.

“Six of them were freed this morning, but I do not know all of their names except Ko Htun Lin Kyaw and Ko Kyaw Win,” said a family member of Ko Htun Lin Kyaw.

They were part of a group of 11 students and youth who were arrested by authorities in September 2009 in Rangoon and Arakan State on charges of possessing firearms and explosives, having contact with illegal organizations, illegally crossing the border, and illegally using telecommunications. After being held nearly a year in Insein Prison without trial, they were produced in the prison court and finally sentenced to three to nine years in prison on 11 August 2010 on the charges.

Among them, Maung Naing Soe was the first to be freed from prison. Afterwards, Ko Khine Kyaw Moe and Ko Zaw Tun Nine were freed on 18 November, 2011, after completing their respective jail terms.

Two of the 11 are still remaining in prison after the amnesty on Friday when state media announced presidential pardons for 651 detainees so they could take part in “nation-building”.

It was also learned that Ashin Pinnyasara, a well-known Arakanese monk imprisoned in Tharat Prison, was not included among the released, most of whom are prominent political prisoners.