FREED BURMESE DISSIDENT SAYS SHE HOPES TO RESUME WRITING


2001-07-26
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WASHINGTON, July 27, 2001 -Burmese dissident San San Nwe, freed last week after seven years in prison, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) she now wants to recover from her detention and return to writing and publishing. San San Nwe, a well-known journalist who was honored last month by the Paris based-World Association of Newspapers (WAN) while she was in jail, also said she hoped for progress in talks between Burma's ruling junta and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. "First I have to see to my health, and then I would like to start working since I haven't been working for a long time," she told RFA in a telephone interview Thursday from Rangoon. "Since I am a writer, I would like to write, publish books. I haven't done those things for the last seven years, so I desperately want to do those things. But I am no longer young, so I have to think... what would be most beneficial." San San Nwe was released July 18 after serving seven years of a 10-year sentence for "giving false reports to foreign journalists" and "causing misunderstanding of the government" by doing so. In addition to the WAN Golden Pen award this year, she also received the Reporters Sans Frontieres-Fondation de France prize in 1999. Her release, she said, was unconditional, meaning that she may involve herself in politics if she wishes. San San Nwe said she believes authorities freed her in part for medical reasons and in part because she repeatedly implored them to let her return home to her children. "I was kept in a cell 7 feet by 9 feet and let outdoors twice a day, for 25 minutes in the morning and 35 minutes in the afternoon. Naturally there are physical strains due to those conditions. Anybody who has to endure these conditions would have to bear (some) consequences, no matter how well they look after their health," she said. "There was no physical abuse against me, but for the others I don't know." Asked about ongoing and secret talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling State Peace and Development Council, she replied: "I hope that there will be progress. I think there is progress, and that is why prisoners are being released in batches. In choosing who is to be released first, there might be some priority given to people with health problems, those getting on in age, those with family problems." RFA's interview with San San Nwe is available on RFA's Web site, at www.rfa.org. Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting news and information to listeners in Asia where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1996, RFA aims to deliver such news reports - along with opinions and commentaries - and to provide a forum for a variety of voices and opinions. RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Khmer, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Mandarin, Laotian, Vietnamese, Korean, Tibetan, and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest journalistic standards and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.

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