Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Political prisoner's death appalling

Australia has condemned the death of a political prisoner in a Burmese jail, with diplomats to protest to the country's military rulers.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he was "saddened and appalled" by the death of Thet Win Aun - a student activist jailed by the junta.

Amnesty International revealed the man died in a prison in Mandalay, in Burma's north, two days ago, where he was tortured and may have been denied treatment for health problems including malaria.

He was sentenced to 59 years in prison in 1998 for his part in organising student demonstrations that called for improvements to schools and the release of political prisoners.

The United Nations estimates about 1,100 political prisoners are held in Burma, which has been under military rule for almost 45 years. (More)