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.