Access Sought for U.S. Citizen

The State Department says it is seeking consular access to a U.S. citizen, missing since landing last week in Burma.
2009-09-09
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The main building at Rangoon International Airport, shown on May 23, 2008.
The main building at Rangoon International Airport, shown on May 23, 2008.
AFP

WASHINGTON—The United States has sought diplomatic access to a Burmese-born U.S. citizen who went missing after landing Sept. 3 in the former Burmese capital, Rangoon, the State Department said Wednesday.

The missing man, Kyaw Zaw Lwin, is related to several Burmese citizens now serving prison terms for pro-democracy activism in Burma.
 
“We have sought consular access,” spokesman Ian Kelly said.

Kyaw Zaw Lwin was seen being “taken away” shortly after arriving at Rangoon International Airport from Thailand, according to his brother, Aung Myo Myat.

Referring to a media report on Kyaw Zaw Lwin’s disappearance, Kelly said, “As soon as we saw this report, we did go to the government in Burma and ask for additional information.”

Kelly declined to give details, citing U.S. privacy laws.

Aung Myo Myat said last week that Kyaw Zaw Lwin had obtained a visa to visit Burma from the Burmese embassy in Bangkok before departing. The reason for his travel wasn’t immediately clear.

Kyaw Zaw Lwin, a Maryland resident, is closely related to several Burmese citizens serving lengthy prison terms for their political work in the tightly controlled Southeast Asian country.

A cousin, Ma Thet Thet Aung, 35, was handed a 65-year prison term in Burma two years ago for her role in the so-called Saffron Revolution, in which Buddhist monks led thousands of Burmese  in protests against the ruling junta in September 2007.

Kyaw Zaw Lwin’s sister, Noe Noe, is serving an 11-year sentence, and his mother is serving a five-year sentence for their own roles in the protests, which were brutally suppressed.

Original reporting by Zaw Moe Kyaw for RFA's Burmese service. Burmese service director: Nyein Shwe. Written in English with additional reporting by Richard Finney. Edited for the Web by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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