Su Su Nway, a 38-year-old labour activist, is serving a sentence of eight and a half years in a remote prison far from her family. According to a recent report in the Burmese exile media, Su Su Nway suffered from malaria and gout during 2010. She also has a congenital heart condition and high blood pressure which are made worse by conditions in the prison, where she cannot get proper medical care. A member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), she was convicted under laws that the authorities routinely use to punish peaceful political dissent.
Mass anti-government protests took place across Myanmar in August and September 2007. Su Su Nway went into hiding for nearly three months after she took part in a street rally against sharp fuel price increases when members of a government-backed social organization, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), beat and detained demonstrators. She was arrested in the aftermath of the uprising in mid-November 2007, for putting up an anti-government banner near the hotel in Yangon where the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar was staying.
A year after her arrest, Su Su Nway was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison, which was reduced on appeal. After sentencing, she was moved from Yangon’s Insein Prison to Kale prison, in the north of the country,and in August 2009 she was transferred to Hkamti prison,Sagaing Division, more than 1,600 km from her family’s home in Yangon. Prisoners in Myanmar rely on their families to bring them food and medicine, and the distance means that it is very difficult for Su Su Nway to receive essential supplies.
Su Su Nway has been punished with occasional spells in solitary confinement, as well as being denied family visits, sufficient food and clean clothes. She was placed in solitary confinement for three days after she took part in a prison ceremony on 19 July 2009 to mark Martyrs’ Day, which commemorates the 1947 assassination of General Aung San (father of the NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) and other leaders of the Burmese independence movement.
Sign the petition to Myanmar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, asking him to:
- release Su Su Nway immediately and unconditionally;
- while she remains in custody, ensure that Su Su Nway is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and is provided with prompt and adequate medical care;
- move Su Su Nway to a prison close to her family home in Yangon;
- give her regular access to her family, and lawyers of her own choosing.