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Burma Urged To Free Sick Prisoners

October 11, 1997

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Amnesty International is urging Burma’s military government to release three ailing political prisoners, who have been transferred to a hospital for medical treatment.

Burma’s prisons are crowded and inmates suffer from poor diet, sanitation and health care, human rights groups say. Unhealthy conditions and delayed medical care allegedly have led to the deaths of political prisoners in the past.

The London-based human rights group said Win Tin, Cho Aung Than and Aung Khin Sint, all members of the pro-democracy party led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, should ``not be returned to prison under any circumstances.″

Cho and Win Tin both have heart conditions, Amnesty said.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Aung Khin Sint has high blood pressure, a weak heart and diabetes. The official said Cho had high blood pressure but denied that his condition was serious.

The three men, all in their 60s, have recently been transferred from prison to a Rangoon hospital.

In addition, Suu Kyi’s cousin, Aye Win, who had been held since May 1996 without trial, is also receiving heart treatment at the hospital, members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy said.

Amnesty International estimated that Burma’s political prisoners number more than 1,000. Many are from Suu Kyi’s party.

Burma’s military government succeeded an earlier military regime in 1988, suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations by killing thousands of protesters.

Suu Kyi received the Nobel in 1991 for her peaceful efforts to bring democracy to Burma.

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