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Myanmar jails 4 year old child of pro-democracy activist

zee

TRIBE Member
Myanmar jails child of activist
Ei Po Po may be youngest detainee

Picked up on visit to grandparents
Mar. 4, 2006. 01:00 AM
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

NEW DELHI—A 4-year-old Myanmar girl has been jailed by security forces because her father is a pro-democracy activist and follower of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

In January, Ei Po Po became the youngest prisoner in military-ruled Myanmar — and perhaps the world's youngest political detainee — when she was picked up by security forces while visiting her grandparents in the village of Yang Len Phai in the north of the country.

Ei's father, Chit Thein Tun, popularly known as Bo Chit, had been living in exile in India for 18 years. On the night of Jan. 14, the 42-year-old democracy activist was abducted from his house in the border town of Moreh, in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, and taken to Myanmar (also known as Burma.)

Two days later, Chit's Myanmari wife, Hnin Hnin Chit and their daughter, Ei, who were on a secret visit to Myanmar to meet Mrs. Chit's mother, were picked up by Myanmari soldiers.

While Ei's father was taken to a high security prison in Yangon, she and her mother were thrown into a police lock-up in the Myanmari border town of Tamu.

According to sources inside Myanmar, security forces were shuttling the little girl between the jail where her mother is confined and her grandparents' home in Yang Len Phai.

"The girl is missing her father very much. Despite Mrs. Chit's repeated pleas, Ei is not being allowed to meet her father at Yangon prison," said one Myanmari pro-democracy activist who lives among some hundreds of other refugees from in Leikon village in Manipur.

Amnesty International has condemned the treatment meted out to Ei, pointing out the government of Myanmar is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the Myanmar Embassy in Ottawa, a staff member who would not give her name said yesterday no embassy officials were in the office to answer questions about Ei Po Po's fate.

At Myanmar's Washington, D.C., embassy, a staff member, who refused to give his name, told The Star, "We don't know anything about this."

Officers in the political section were in a meeting, he said.

And at the Myanmar Mission to the United Nations in New York, no spokespersons were available.

"Everybody is in a meeting," an aide said.

Two other pro-democracy Myanmari activists were picked up from Moreh on Jan.14 with Bo Chit.

It has been reported that the Myanmari soldiers crossed over to the Indian territory and conducted the operation with the help of a group of hired Manipuri Meitei separatist Indian rebels.

"Although the Indian government admits that the abduction of the Burmese activists took place in Moreh, it did not agree that the Myanmari soldiers crossed over to the Indian territory," said Myanmari activist Naing Oo, who was abducted Jan. 14 but later escaped.

While returning to Myanmar the soldiers ran into an Indian border patrol. Oo escaped during the ensuing gun battle.

Five years ago, Myanmari soldiers were alleged to have abducted half a dozen Myanmari democracy activists from the northeast Indian border state of Mizoram.

They were taken to Yangon and never returned.

"We think this time, too, Mr. Chit and Maung Maung Oo, the other activist, will get lost inside the wall of the Yangon jail. Our only offence is that we favour democracy in Myanmar and support Aung San Suu Kyi," said Zin Naing, head of the foreign affairs wing of the Burmese Solidarity Organization in New Delhi.
 
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