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Global Day of Action for 34 Resistance Fighters From Burma in Indian Jail

By Burma Campaign UK  •  February 11, 2011

Demonstration for 34 at the High Commission of India in London38 organisations in 18 countries are taking part in a global day of action in support of 34 resistance fighters from Burma who are currently being held in an Indian jail. The 34 are threatened with deportation back to Burma, where they would very likely face arrest, torture and imprisonment.

The thirty-four were arrested 13 years ago, on 11th February 1998, on Landfall Island, by the Indian Military. They appear to have been tricked by a rogue Indian Military intelligence official, who had told them they could land there with the permission and support of the military. Although initially accused of gun-running, these charges were dropped, and last year a plea bargain was agreed in which they were told that each of them had to pay a six-thousand rupee fine, and given a three year sentence, which has already been served while waiting for, and during, the trial.

These thirty-four resistance fighters never intentionally broke any Indian law. They thought they were in India with the permission of the Indian government. For thirteen years they face being given long prison sentences in India for a crime they did not commit. Now, even though their case is over, and they have paid their fine and served the time they were given, they are still in jail.

Even worse than still being denied their freedom, the Indian government has threatened to deport them back to Burma. The thirty-four come from two ethnic nationalities in Burma, they are Arakanese and Karen. Both of these ethnic groups face persecution from the dictatorship ruling Burma. As members of two banned organisations, the National United Party of Arakan, and the Karen National Union, they would face arrest, torture and imprisonment if they were forced to return to Burma.

“The continuing detention of these thirty-four resistance fighters is appalling and in breach of human rights,” said Mary Hla, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “The Indian government should release them immediately without any conditions. The UNHCR should immediately recognise the 34 as qualifying as refugees and seek a third country for them to be resettled to.”

The thirty-four briefing is available to download here.

Actions are taking place in: United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Norway, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand.

Organisations involved include:

Burma Campaign UK
Karen National Union-UK
Karen Community Association -UK
Arakanese Community – UK
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
US Campaign for Burma
Karen Community of Minnesota
Eastern Pennsylvania Karen Community
Utica Karen Community
Karen Community of Wisconsin
Karen Community of Hartford, Connecticut
Karen Community of Arizona
Arakanese Community – USA
Karen Community Canada
Canadian Friends of Burma
Burma Campaign New Zealand
Australia Karen Organization
Ethnic Nationalities Organisation, Australia
Burma Action Ireland
People in Need, Czech Republic
Austrian Burma Centre
Info Birmanie, France
Karen Community Norway
Karen National Union – Germany
Karen Swedish Community
Party of European Socialists – Stockholm
European Parliament Caucus on Burma
European Karen Network
Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
Karen National Union-Japan
Arakan League for Democracy- Thailand
Karen Youth Organization Korea
Burma Centre Delhi
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress – Bangladesh
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress – Thailand
Nationality Youth Forum – Thailand
Student & Youth Congress of Burma – Thailand
Forum for Democracy in Burma

For more information please contact Mary Hla, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK, on +44 (0) 20 7324 4718 (UK time), Aung Marm Oo, General Secretary AASYC on +66 (0) 81-6736326 (Thailand time).

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This post is in: Press Release

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