Below is an email from the Free Dr Salai Tun Than group. We cannot, at this stage, verify the information, but we will confirm as soon as we can.
Statement on the Hunger Strike of Dr. Salai Tun Than
by his daughter Mai Theingi Tun Than
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 17:34:11 +0700
Washington, April 28:
Mai Theingi Tun Than, Daughter of Professor Dr. Salai Tun Than appeals for moral support and encouragement for her father’s hunger strike, which he launched yesterday at the notorious Insein Prison in Burma.
Professor Dr. Salai Tun Than, 75 years old, launched his campaign on April 27, inside the Insein Prison. It is a courageous act of an academic, who is now languishing inside the notorious prison, for exercising his basic human rights on 29 November 2001.
That was a fateful day when the Professor staged a solo protest in front of the Rangoon City Hall and distributed a petition calling for the Army Generals to conduct a general election and hand over the power of the state to the winning party. He was subsequently incarcerated and sentenced for seven long years of imprisonment.
Again on Sunday, April 27, 2003, the 75-year old retired rector of Yezin University, Burma, started a seven-day hunger strike from his bed in Insein Prison Hospital, Rangoon. The Asian Tribune urges the international community to pray for the health of the Gandhian Professor and pray that the common sense prevail in the hearts and minds of the Army generals and they order their subordinates in the prison treat him humanely.
The full text of the appeal made by Mai Theingi Tun Than, Daughter of Professor Dr. Salai Tun Than, who is the only daughter who lives outside Burma is given below:
I am writing to ask your support for my father, Dr. Salai Tun Than, the retired rector of Yezin University, Burma, who is currently serving a seven year prison sentence for staging a peaceful one-man protest in front of the Rangoon City Hall building on November 29, 2001.
My father’s only ‘crime’ was to distribute a petition calling for the government to hold a multiparty general election within one year and to unconditionally transfer state power to the winning party. He has been recognized by the Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, and groups all over the world are campaigning for his release.
On Sunday, April 27, 2003, my 75-year old father started a seven-day hunger strike from his bed in Insein Prison Hospital, Rangoon. At grave risk to his already frail health, he decided to go on a hunger strike to draw attention to the inhumane conditions of his confinement, which violate international human rights standards, and to protest his inability to practice his religion while in prison. The prison’s inhumane conditions include the following:
Political prisoners are hooded when they are taken out even for going to the toilet from their cells in the hospital. Medical care and medical facilities in the prison hospital do not meet even minimum basic standards for health, safety and hygiene.
Prison guards and Military Intelligence personnel monitor and record all statements made by my father and other family members during the brief periods when they are allowed to visit.
My father is routinely interrogated after his meetings with ICRC or UN representatives, in violation of rules governing such visits.
Political prisoners at the prison hospital such as my father are strictly forbidden to speak with the ordinary prisoners. Many political prisoners have not yet been released even though they have already served their prison terms. Some have been released, only to be promptly re-arrested on spurious grounds. Violations of religious freedom. My father has been denied possession of the Bible, that his family gave to him, though he has been seeking permission for this more than a year.
His requests to receive Christian Holy Communion (with the help of priest) inside the prison have been refused by prison authorities. My father, Dr. Salai Tun Than, is currently suffering from severe health problems, exacerbated by his advanced age and the inhumane conditions of his imprisonment. Nevertheless, he is determined to carry out this hunger strike in the knowledge that only international pressure will ease his plight and that of other political prisoners in Burma.
As one of Dr. Salai Tun Than’s daughters, and the only one outside Burma who has the freedom to draw attention to his plight, and as a Burmese human rights activist, I urgently and sincerely request you and your organization to support the cause of human rights in Burma by pressuring the military regime to release Dr. Salai Tun Than and all the political prisoners immediately and unconditionally. I strongly urge that we all should work together in putting pressure on the Burmese military regime, the State Peace and Development Council by demanding the following actions:
1) To release Dr. Salai Tun Than and all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.
2) To stop all the human rights abuses done by Burmese military in Burma.
3) To resume the true political Dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of National League for Democracy for the benefit of Burmese people.
I really need you and your organization’s support and action on this matter and please feel free to contact me for further concern.
Mai Theingi Tun Than
Daughter of Dr. Salai Tun Than
Contact: Mai Theingi Tun Than
+1 (650) 991-0287
+1 (650) 255-0747
Free Burma Coalition New York (FBCNY)
Free Professor Dr. Salai Tun Than: View” target=_blankhttp://www.PetitionOnline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?Burma362>View
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Suggested URL about Free Burma:
Free Burma Coalition New York.
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (http://www.ahrchk.net/tunthan/mainfile.php/general/5/)
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE (aaas Human Rights Action Network): (http://shr.aaas.org/aaashran/)
Free Political Prisoner Campaign Committee (Burma): (http://www.fppcc.org/)
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma): (http://www.aappb.org/)
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