Hkun Tun Oo, whose party the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) won statewide in the 1990 elections, has been selected as a recipient of the US congressional Democracy Award, according to SNLD sources.
“The only problem is authorities have yet to issue him a passport,” said an SNLD member. “This will only hurt the government’s much-vaunted national reconciliation policy, if they keep on doing it.”
Besides Hkun Tun Oo, prominent leaders from the 88 Generation Students are also waiting for their passports.
If his passport is issued in time, Hkun Tun Oo, 69, who was released on 13 January after 7 years in prison, will be receiving his award on 18 June. He is also scheduled to meet other US officials between 19-22 June, said party spokesman Sai Lake.
Hkun Tun Oo’s father was Sao Kya Sone, brother to Sai Kya Seng, the last ruling prince of Hsipaw, who was immortalized in “Twilight Over Burma,” written by his Austrian consort Sao Thusandi aka Inge Sargent.
He, along with 8 other colleagues, were imprisoned for high treason in 2005 and was given a 93 year prison sentence.
Many Shans regard him as their legitimate leader, having won the 1990 elections in Shan State.
The SNLD re-registered as a party on 23 May.