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Hague Urged to Act To Free Zaw Pe

By Burma Campaign UK  •  May 14, 2014

Burma Campaign UK today launches a campaign calling on British Foreign Secretary William Hague to personally intervene to secure the release of jailed DVB journalist, Zaw Pe.

Zaw Pe is a video journalist working for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB).  In August 2012  Zaw Pe and another man, Win Myint Hlaing, whose son is a student, went to the Magwe Division Education Department to conduct an interview about the qualification criteria for a Japanese funded scholarship programme. The government official at the department refused to answer their questions.  Following their visit, they were charged with trespassing, and disturbing a civil servant at the department, under Sections 353 and 448 of the Penal Code.

On 7th April 2014, they were both found guilty of these offences and sentenced to one year in prison.

Burma Campaign UK is asking supporters and the public to email the Foreign Secretary asking to directly raise the case of Zaw Pe with the Burmese Foreign Minister, and to warn him that arresting journalists and refusing to release all political prisoners will result in the British government starting to withdraw financial, technical and political support it is providing to the Burmese government. The British government has pledged $34 million in aid to help the Burmese government.

Zaw Pe (also known as Thura Thet Tin) is 41. He has a wife and a two year old son. He has been arrested for his journalist work in the past. In May 2010 he was jailed for three years for unauthorised filming. He was released in 2012.

The jailing is the latest in a series of recent arrests or jailings of journalists, and is part of a broader series of actions taken by the Burmese government to intimidate and control media without reintroducing direct censorship.

“Burma is slipping back to the dark days of throwing journalists into jail,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “If the international community don’t take a strong stand, President Thein Sein will think he can get away with jailing journalists, and more will be arrested. William Hague needs to get on the phone and make it clear to the Burmese government that jailing Zaw Pe is completely unacceptable and he must be released immediately.”

Burma Campaign UK is proposing a new comprehensive review mechanism to ensure all political prisoners in Burma are released. More information is available here: http://burmacampaign.org.uk/no-end-in-sight-for-political-prisoners-in-burma-permanent-review-mechanism-needed/

Action can be taken online here: http://burmacampaign.org.uk/take-action/free-political-prisoners/free-zaw-pe/

Media Contact:
Wai Hnin on: +44 (0)7875931038

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This post is in: Press Release

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