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Ex-Dictator’s Relatives Arrested

March 8, 2002

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar authorities have arrested a son-in-law and two grandchildren of former dictator Ne Win and sealed off the family home in the capital, relatives said Friday.

The reasons for the move against the family of the man who ruled this country for 26 years until his retirement in 1988 were not clear. There was no official announcement from Myanmar’s military government.

Ne Win’s son-in-law Aye Zaw Win was arrested Thursday night while having dinner at a Chinese restaurant, said the family members, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Aye Zaw Win’s two sons also were arrested.

Access to the house they share with the 90-year-old former dictator and his daughter Sandar Win was blocked with street barricades early Friday morning, neighbors said.

Ne Win was at the forefront of Myanmar’s struggle for independence from Britain, which was achieved in 1948, when the country was known as Burma.

He seized power in a bloodless coup in 1962 and his subsequent authoritarian rule sullied his reputation as a national hero.

The dictator retired in 1988, just before a popular uprising for democracy that was triggered by his quarter century of misrule.

A 1990 election catapulted Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the late independence hero Gen. Aung San, to political prominence.

However her victory at the polls was never recognized by the military. The military regime that succeeded Ne Win remains in power, while Nobel Peace prize winner Suu Kyi continues to lead the pro-democratic opposition.

For the past year, the regime and Suu Kyi, who is under virtual house arrest, have held inconclusive closed-door talks to end the political deadlock. It was unclear Friday whether the arrests were linked to the nation’s political situation.

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