Mya Aye

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Mya Aye (Burmese: မြအေး, IPA: [mja̰ é]) is one of the leaders of the 8888 generation pro-democracy student activists in Burma (Myanmar).[1] He was elected as the Politician of the Year 2006 by readers of the Burma Digest.[2]

He has led a campaign for a signature petition to release all political prisoners when most of the political leaders were imprisoned by the Myanmar Military Junta, SPDC, in order to silence their opposition. He took over all responsibilities after Min Ko Naing, Pyone Cho, Min Za Ya, Htay Kywel and Ko Ko Gyi were arrested.

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[edit] Background of Mya Aye

Mya Aye is one of the leaders of 88 generation students group led by Min Ko Naing. He was first arrested in 1989 and sentenced for 8 years imprisonment because of his role as a prominent student leader in 1988 uprising. {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8888_Uprising}. He was released in 1996 and still continued campaigning for democracy in Burma. He strongly believes in human rights and freedom. He was arrested again 2007 with fellow students leaders and sentenced for 65 years and 6 months imprisonment. His daughter Wai Hnin Pwint Thon has followed his footsteps to bring change in Burma. She has campaigned for the release of political prisoners in Burma and freedom and democracy. Wai Hnin Pwint Thon based in London and studying her degree at university.

[edit] Background of the uprising

On 27 June 2006 – the 18th anniversary of the founding of the National League for Democracy – the leaders of the opposition movement were arrested. On 2 October the remaining 88 Generation Students’ group started the first-ever public campaign against the SPDC and gathered signatures for a petition calling for the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than half a million people signed the petition despite being harassed by SPDC Kyant Phuts and their thugs. The signatures were later presented to the UN. Following this they organized a “White Expression” campaign and requested that people wear white clothes to protest against the SPDC. It was continued until the 44th birthday of Ko Min Ko Naing on 18 October. On 29 October, they started a third campaign called the “Multi Religious Prayer Campaign” and requested that people again wear white clothing and hold candlelight vigils and prayers in temples, churches and mosques.

On 22 August 2007, a rare public protest over a sharp rise in fuel prices led to a wave of arrests by the Burmese junta. Those arrested included the senior leaders of the 88 Generation Students’ group as well as members of other student and civil advocacy groups. Hundreds of demonstrators had taken to the streets to express their anger at the surprise increase in fuel prices. Natural gas prices have risen 500% and petrol and diesel prices have almost doubled, according to The Guardian. The rise has hit poor labourers particularly hard, swallowing up to half of their daily income.

[edit] The 88 Generation Students’ group involvement

The 88 Generation Students’ group is an organisation synonymous with the long struggle for democracy in military-ruled Burma and take their name from a 1988 student-led uprising which was violently crushed by the military. In a rare announcement in all state-run newspapers, the junta said that the dissidents were arrested for undermining the peace and security of the state, according to The Epoch Times.

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Pyone Cho, Ko Jimmy and Ko Yin Htun were among those from the 88 Generation Student group arrested. On 21 August 2007, 14 student leaders of the 88 Student Generation of Democracy were arrested.

The 14 members are Paw U Tun (also known as Min Ko Naing), Ko Ko Gyi, Pyone Cho (also known as Htay Win Aung), Min Zeyar, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Jimmy (Kyaw Min Yu), Zeya, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Kyaw Kyaw Htwe (Marki), Panneik Tun, Zaw Zaw Min, Thet Zaw, Nyan Lin Tun and Ko Yin Htun. They were arrested by security officials and members of the state-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA).

“Military intelligence and government intelligence seized their houses and searched their houses,” told another dissident, Htay Kywe, who escaped and fled to neighbouring Thailand. Despite the arrests, reports from Burma said that campaigners took to the streets again the following day to protest against the government’s recent increase in fuel prices.

No warrants were produced for the arrests and according to an article published in the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar, they will be charged under Law 5/96, which provides for up to 20 years in prison, for their involvement in “acts undermining the efforts to successfully carry out peaceful transfer of state power and facilitate the proceedings of the National Convention.” Following the arrests, members of the security forces allegedly searched the homes of the afore-mentioned individuals and confiscated documents and compact discs. Reports claim that they were detained at Kyaikkasan Detention Centre before being transferred to the notorious Insein Prison outside Yangon where they may be at risk of torture, including beatings and electric shocks.

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