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Detained poet released by authorities

(Mizzima News/IFEX) - A layout designer and poet has been released after being detained by the Rangoon Division Special Branch police for about 10 days.

Khant Min Htet, a layout designer for the Rangoon-based "Ahlingar Wutyee" journal, was arrested on 22 October 2009 and taken to the Aung Thabyay interrogation center. His father, Maung Sein Nee who is a poet and editor-in-chief of the "Padauk Pwint Thit" magazine, said the police released his son on 1 November.

"He is in good health. They summoned the family members and handed him over to us," Maung Sein Nee said.

On the same day, at least 15 Cyclone Nargis volunteer relief workers, including freelance reporter Pai Soe Oo, aka "Jay Pai", and editor Thant Zin Soe, of the "Foreign Affairs Journal", were also released from detention. The authorities called their family members and handed them over at their office.

"Both the detainees and their guardians had to sign a bond before being released. An official told us that they forgave these youths for their mistakes and wrongdoing, but we have to keep them from doing the same thing again," said a parent who had picked up his son from the detention center.

Most of the released detainees are members of a Cyclone Nargis volunteer relief group known as Lin Let Kye.

According to the detainees' family members, they were interrogated by authorities about the source of their funds for the relief work and whether they had contacts with opposition groups in exile. The families, however, said they do not know if the detainees were tortured.

"We did not find any torture marks on his body," Khant Min Htet's mother said. She was very happy following his release.

Some of the publications that the detainees worked for have not reinstated their employees for fear of retaliation from the authorities. However, Khant Min Htet was back working at his layout design job at the "Ahlingar Wutyee" journal soon after his release from detention. Pai Soe Oo, aka "Jay Pai", also visited the office of the journal he worked for, but it is not yet known whether he has been reinstated in his position.

Amnesty International recently demanded the release of all the detained relief workers.

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