(CJFE/IFEX) - The following is a CJFE press release:
Release of Burmese journalist and CJFE International Press Freedom Award winner Myo Myint Nyein
February 13 - CJFE today welcomed news that the Burmese military junta has released journalist Myo Myint Nyein from prison.
Nyein was freed yesterday along with three other members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy and a member of the Democratic Party for New Society, a disbanded pro-democracy youth party. The move was thought to be an apparent goodwill gesture timed to coincide with a visit by United Nations human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.
"We are thrilled with the news of Myo Myint Nyein's release," CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said. "He had been unjustly imprisoned since 1990, and we hope that he will now be able to receive the proper medical care that he so desperately requires."
Myo Myint Nyein, 50, suffered from gastritis, migraines, hypertension and other illnesses while in prison.
In November 2001, CJFE honoured Myo Myint Nyein with an International Press Freedom Award in recognition of his extraordinary courage in his fight for a free press in Burma. As he was in prison, his daughter received the award on his behalf.
In 1990, Myo Myint Nyein, editor of Pay Phu Hlwar magazine, was charged with "organizing youths and students to create instability" through articles in the publication, and was subsequently sentenced to seven years in jail.
While in prison, Myo Myint Nyein and other incarcerated colleagues clandestinely formed the "Press Freedom Movement". In that capacity, Myo Myint Nyein covertly edited the Weekly News Bulletin. He wrote and smuggled out of prison the report "The Testimonials of Prisoners of Conscience from Insein Prison Who Have Been Unjustly Imprisoned".
Because of his involvement in the "Press Freedom Movement", Myo Myint Nyein was sentenced to an additional seven years of hard labour.