Burma Democratic Concern has the firm determination to carry on doing until the democracy restore in Burma.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Five political prisoners to receive a ‘Nonentity Hero Award’
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Five political prisoners including a Buddhist monk have been chosen to receive a “Nonentity Hero Award” presented by Burmese residents living in Japan.

Former political prisoner and senior NLD leader Win Tin. Photo: Mizzima

Oo Wira Thu (aka) Win Khine Oo, Zeya Aung (Myitkyina Prison), Thant Zaw (Thayat Prison), Swan Hla Aung (Kyaukphyu Prison) and Mar Mar Oo (Bhamo Prison) were named to receive the awards on Tuesday.

Min Htet Zaw, one of the organizers of the award committee, told Mizzima: “We need to respect the value of these people. They are an invaluable ‘human treasure’ for our country.”

The objective of the award is to honour pro-democracy activists who are “nonentities,” or not well known by the general public, to promote the cooperation between pro-democracy activists living both inside and outside the Burma.

The “Nonentity Hero Award” was given for the first time during the Burmese New Year [in April]. Maggin Monastery abbot U Eindaka (Lashio Prison), Bodaw Khin Win (aka) Khin Win and Than Naing (Ma-ubin Prison) received the first awards.

Former political prisoner Win Tin, who is a member of the award selection committee, said, “People usually recognize only famous people. We will also recognize nonentity activists who have made sacrifices. We must show that those people are important too, and their sacrifices for democracy are very great.” The National League for Democracy coordinated the award selection process.

Among the award-winning activists, Masoeyain New Monastery Abbot U Wira Thu was arrested during the “Saffron Revolution” and sentenced to 25 years in prison; Mar Mar Oo was arrested in 2008 for protesting against a fuel price hike in 2007 and sentenced to 65 years in prison.

Zeya Aung was arrested for distributing a poem titled “Peacock’s Pride” in 2006 and sentenced to 26 years in prison. When he was arrested, he was 21 years old and a final year student of law.

Win Tin said: “Rather than death sentences, some prisoners have to serve long prison terms frequently. For instance, Boedaw Khin Win has had to serve frequent prison terms since 1978.”

Swan Hla Aung has been a prisoner of conscience since 2002. He was sentenced to 79 years in prison; Thant Zaw was arrested in 1989 in connection with a bomb blast and received a death sentence.

The award ceremony will be held at NLD headquarters in Rangoon on October 12. Each winner will receive 1 million kyat (about US$ 1,240) and a medal. The committee is also preparing a logo design to represent sacrifice and equality. Fifty donors contributed a total of 560,800 yen (about US$ 7,000). The program may also donate to released political prisoners who need help returning to a normal life.

“They need to be rehabilitated to become leaders of their communities, activists who can cooperate with the public,” said Win Tin.

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