Hkun Tun Oo, imprisoned leader of defunct Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the second largest winning party in the whole of Burma and the winning party in Shan State in the 1990 elections, was honored an award of Nationalities Hero yesterday by United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) for his sacrificial efforts in struggling for democracy and equality.
The award giving ceremony was held at his house at 9th Mile, Rangoon, from 9:00 to 11:00 and attended by over 30 political leaders including U Win Tin and U Nyan Win from National League for Democracy (NLD), veteran politician Thakhin Chan Htun, U Htaung Ko Htan, U Aye Tha Aung, leading member of Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), Nai Ngwe Thein, Mon National League for Democracy (MNLD), Saw Harry – Kayin (Karen), Pu Cin Xin Thang, Chairman of Zomi National Congress (his son and nephew are in jail) and other ethnic nationalities parties.
“The reason we honor him is because he meets all five of our criteria. He was the chairman of the second winning party in 1990 elections, sacrificed himself for equality and democracy, make tireless efforts to solve the problem by political and peaceful means and is a political prisoner,” said Htaung Ko Htan from UNA.
The award was handed to his better half Daw Wai Wai Lwin. The certification says, “The award is to certify him as the political prisoner languishing the longest term for democracy and equality in the history of Union of Myanmar and also as a memorandum for his sacrificial efforts and dignified spirits.”
“The award will not be honored every year. It will be handed to the one who meets our criteria like him,” Htaung Ko Htan added.
Hkun Tun Oo is currently serving a 93-year term in Burma’s northernmost town Putao, Kachin State while general secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin aka Sai Nood is serving 85 years in Kalemyo, Sagaing division.
They were detained along with other 7 leaders on 8-9 February 2005 on charges of treason, defamation, setting up of illegal organization and violation of the 5/96 Law prohibiting people from criticizing the constitution drafted by its rulers. The draft was “ratified” by an overwhelming 92% of the country’s eligible voters in May 2008, according to junta announcement.
Hkun Tun Oo has been suffering from bladder distention, peptic ulcer and arthritis both hands and knees and legs swelling due to lack adequate exercise and regular medical treatment. However, he is still not permitted to get medical checkup outside even though the family have applied to have access to medical check outside for several times because there has no health group that reach to his place, Putao, the northernmost town in Burma. He was only allowed to receive oral treatment, according to a member of his family.
However, he has not changed his political stands despites his serious condition, still convinced he is treading on the right way, said the party spokesperson.
He was also said to have kept encouraging to all his party members to be strong, keep doing on what their believe in and not to give up even though most of the leaders are in jail.
The 7 other detained Shan leaders are:
- Maj-Gen Hso Ten 106 years Sittwe prison, Arakan State
- Sai Nyunt Lwin 85 years Kalay, Sagaing division
- Sai Hla Aung 79 years Kyaukphyu prison
- U Myint Than 79 years Sandoway prison (died 2006)
- U Tun Nyo 79 years Buthidaung prison
- U Nyi Nyi Moe 79 years Pakokku prison
- Sai Myo Win Tun 79 years Myingyan prison