Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Burma 23 July 2002

Photographer Khin Aye Kyu freed, but cameraman brother stays in prison

Burmese photographer Khin Aye Kyu was recently freed after serving a four-year prison sentence for distributing unauthorised videotapes and illegally possessing video equipment.

Confirming her release, she told Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières - RSF) she was trying to resume her job as a photographer but that her priority was looking after her brother Ko Sein Ohn, who remains in prison in Mandalay and whose wife was too poor to support him.

Her brother, aged 50, was jailed for the same offence and at the same time, in 1996, but for a longer term of 10 years.  The military regime said he had made and distributed videos of a speech by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She said his conditions of detention were poor and that he had stomach problems. She was visiting him every two months and supporting both him and herself by selling lottery tickets in the street.

However, she had covered the recent visit to a Rangoon suburb by Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed from house arrest in May. "I want to resume my work as a photographer and camera-operator," she said, "but it’s expensive and I don’t have any clients yet."

Reporters Without Borders called for the release of Ko Sein Ohn, along with at least 15 other media workers imprisoned in Burma.

The organisation also learns that the authorities at Myitkyina prison, in the north of the country, recently lifted their two-month-old ban on visits to journalist and elected member of parliament Sein Hla Oo.  Despite the long and costly journey from Rangoon, his wife has said she will visit him as soon as she can. The journalist has had several heart attacks since he was arrested.

A few days before the visitors ban was lifted, his wife was invited to the house of Aung San Suu Kyi, who said she was worried about his health and promised to intervene with the authorities. The ban was also been lifted for opposition figure Doctor Khin Zaw Win, who is also imprisoned at Myitkyina.

Finally, Czech President Vaclav Havel has expressed his support for writers and journalists in jails, especially Win Tin, in a recent message to the Avignon International Theatre Festival.  Journalist Win Tin, an official of the opposition National League for Democracy, has been held at Rangoon’s Insein Prison since 4 July 1989.

In this country
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed
28 May - Burma
Junta allows only one-sided coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial
15 May - Burma
Growing restrictions on free flow of information
15 May - Burma
Sakharov Network calls for immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Sakharov Prize laureate 1990
29 January - Burma
Petition launched for release of two Burmese bloggers serving sentences of 20 and 59 years in prison

in the annual report
Burma - Annual report 2008
Burma - Annual report 2007
Burma - Annual report 2006

4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised