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Fearing for her safety following harassment by security forces, writer joins husband into exile

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Popular Burmese writer Hnin Pan Ein and her son fled to Thailand on 14 November 2008 to join her husband, a former political prisoner, after being frequently intimidated and harassed by Burmese authorities.

Police and military agents reportedly kept watch and intimidated Hnin Pan Ein and her 14-year-old son after her husband, Nay Oo, the South Dagon Township National League for Democracy (NLD) Youth Organizer and a former political prisoner, fled to Thailand in October. Harassed, the family decided to join him in exile.

"I initially decided to stay inside Burma for as long as I could, even after my husband had gone into exile. But when they [the authorities] hinted that they would arrest and interrogate us, I realised that we could no longer stay inside Burma. I had to take into consideration the security of my son," Hnin Pan Ein told Mizzima.

"Military Affairs Security (MAS) and Police Special Branch (SB) personnel frequently visited my home to inquire about my husband. We were scared by the frequent knocks on the door," she added. MAS and SB serve as the intelligence groups of the military and the police, respectively.

She said that her husband fled across the Thai-Burma border last month after several of his close friends and colleagues had been arrested.

He was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment on 19 February 1989 for various crimes, including the distribution of illegal documents.

Hnin Pan Ein has written many travelogues, essays, articles and stories based on her experiences visiting her husband in Kalemyo prison in Sagaing Division. The articles appeared in several monthly magazines, such as "Nweni and Mahaythi".

Even after her husband was released on 6 July 2005 she continued writing on the same theme, based on others' experiences in visiting their beloved ones languishing in remote prisons under harsh environments.

Many of her 200 short stories and articles were censored either in whole or in part by the censor board.

Hnin Pan Ein started her writing career in 2000. Her travelogue, "Tamarpan and Bawalan", was very popular. She was given the My Best Like award, given by a literary fan living in Japan, for her article "Gratitude of the Environment and a Star".

She also received the Tawphayarlay Prize for her "Modern Memory and Collected Short Stories" as well as the Naymin Ahman literary group's Best Short Story Award for "Lotus Beside a Spring".

"I will continue writing about the situations all of us (Burmese) are living in and the evil political situation inside Burma," she said.

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