August 19, 2016

Union government urged to adopt political prisoner definition


PYITHU Hluttaw representative U Pe Than called on the Union government to define exactly what the term ‘political prisoner’ means yesterday, stressing the need to make those imprisoned for their political activities separate from inmates held for committing crimes.
It is required that we define the term ‘political prisoner’ and publicise charges relating to political activity since we are a democratic government, U Pe Than of Myebon Township Constituency told Pyithu Hluttaw yesterday.
“I would like to urge the new government, in moving towards democracy, to establish a definition of political prisoner and define the charges against politicians,” said the lawmaker, expressing his view that a politician is a person working for the good of the country.
In his reply, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Soe said that the MP’s call for adopting a political prisoner definition will be presented to the Union Minister for Home Affairs for seeking the Union government’s view on the term.
“I will reply to the MP’s question in accordance with the present government’s view on it after reporting to the Union Minister for Home Affairs.”
Although the 2008 Constitution states that all citizens shall receive equal rights and protection under the law, there was no definition for the term ‘political prisoner’ through successive governments, added the deputy minister.
If the term “political prisoner’ is defined exactly, there will be a decrease in the number of political prisoners behind bars and those being held for illegal political activities.
The government should give rights to make them separate from other inmates held on criminal offences, said U Pe Than.
According to the Political Prisoners Scrutinising Committee, works are underway to scrutinise charges against individuals for political reasons and its findings will be presented to Parliament through a parliamentarian.


Thein Ko Lwin


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