Thursday, November 17, 2005

Free Su Su Nway Campaign

Free Su Su Nway Campaign

Date: 14 November 2005

Changing the Burmese language school’s name to Su Su Nway School

Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland), CDB-Finland, took a unanimous decision during its monthly meeting to change the name of Burmese language school from Dawn School to Su Su Nway School in honor of a courageous but ordinary Burmese woman, Su Su Nway, who was sentenced on 13 October 2005 to eighteen month’s imprisonment for speaking out about the forced labor practice used by the authorities of the ruling military junta (SPDC).

In addition, the Burmese community in Finland will donate money to Su Su Nway to show their support for her selfless and courage with which she successfully defined the climate of fear the junta has created since its 1988 bloody military takeover. The honor is also to mark Su Su Nway’s one month in prison and the change of the school name is to take effect from 13 November 2005.

Su Su Nway has inspired more confidence and determination in us to our struggle for democracy and her case also offers a window to look into the mainstream of our democracy movement which has yet to mobilize the mood of the general public into active resistance. Inserting individual idea and sacrifice into a common cause is not new to our movement, but Su Su Nway tactfully showed her bravery and sacrifice at the same time in her fight for the truth. It is a key to encourage the suppressed public to action.

These are the reasons why we give a great honor to her by changing the name of the Burmese language school to Su Su Nway School.
The CDB-Finland is carrying out “Free Su Su Nway Campaign” in cooperation with the members of Amnesty International (Finland) to help ensure her immediate release from prison. As part of this campaign the CDB-Finland today writes a letter to Amnesty International (AI). The letter urges AI to advocate a position of her immediate release.

Campaign Committee
Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland)

An appeal letter for Ma Su Su Nway

Date: 14 November 2005

Dear Ms Donna Guest,
Burma researcher
Director of Asia Pacific Region
Amnesty International

The Burmese military government is infamous in their use of force labor. In January 2005, one forced-labor case occurred in the Rangoon Division of Kawmoo Township, while the authorities were constructing a highway in the township.

Su Su Nway, a 34-year-old woman, sued local authorities from Htan-Manaing and Mya-Sanni villages for being forced into slave labor practices. In a historic court decision, Su Su Nway won her case, and the local authorities judged responsible for coercing villagers into forced labor were all given eight-month prison terms.

But Su Su Nway and the villagers’ happiness were short-lived. Authorities appealed the decision and responded by a counter-suit that Su Su Nway was responsible for ‘besmearing their reputation.’ During the second trial, Su Su Nway and her supporters were threatened both directly and indirectly by the authorities.

The authorities presented no evidence in the second trial, and witnesses told to the judge that Su Su Nway was innocence. In light of the facts and the falsities of the accusations, her lawyer and the villagers expected her to win again. However Burma’s judicial process is wholly subservient to the will of the military. Therefore, Su Su Nway was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Su Su Nway heroically protested against the unjust military rule in Burma in a non-violent manner. As a result, she was awarded for advocating of human rights by Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Su Su Nway’s imprisonment is of grave concern to her family and her supporters, as she is known to be in poor health. She suffers from heart disease, and after a recent accident, was left unable to speak or walk properly. Though she was in great pain, the authorities intimidated a local nurse and coerced her into not giving Su Su Nway the proper treatment for her illness, and the authority bans any medical supply from her family. Because of the poor prison conditions and the ineptitude of the prison health care system in Insein prison (in several instances amounting to torture) we expect Su Su Nway’s illness to only exacerbate further and cause her greater suffering. She is now facing solitary confinement in infamous Insein Prison, Rangoon.

In addition, the authorities are planning revenge on Su Su Nway for her advocacy against forced labor. It is not determined whether she would be released after her 18 months prison-term (the junta has previously extended the prison terms of other political prisoners long after their official term expired). Therefore we, the Burmese community of Finland, are very concerned about her immediate needs for medical treatment for her health condition. We also believe that supporting Su Su Nway is not only beneficial to her, but also to the people of Burma, who are suffering under the military rule.

Therefore we, the Burmese community of Finland, request Amnesty International to take some action regarding the lack of health care available in Burmese prison and adopt a position advocating Su Su Nway’s immediate release.

Thank you very much for your consideration!

Respectfully yours,
Campaign Committee
Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland)

Contact persons:

Thar Swe
Vice coordinator
Ph: + 358 44 2621081

Thant Zin Htun
Ph: + 358 44 9170278


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