Dissidents' Relative Disappears

A U.S. citizen, the relative of several jailed democracy activists, is unaccounted for after landing in the former Burmese capital, Rangoon.

2009-09-03
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rangoon-airport-305.jpg The main building at Rangoon International Airport, shown on May 23, 2008.
AFP

BANGKOK—A Burmese-born U.S. citizen whose mother, sister, and cousin are dissidents serving jail terms in Burma has gone missing after landing Thursday in the former capital, Rangoon, his brother said.

“Kyaw Zaw Lwin left for Rangoon on Thai Airways TG 305 today [Thursday] at 5:15 p.m. … But he has [since] disappeared, and we are very worried,” Aung Myo Myat, the man’s brother, said.

Aung Myo Myat said sources told him Kyaw Zaw Lwin was seen at the Rangoon airport following his arrival, but that he was “taken away.” 

Since then, Kyaw Zaw Lwin, who lives in Maryland, has neither been deported nor released, Aung Myo Myat said in an interview.

No comment was immediately available from the U.S. State Department.

Aung Myo Myat said Kyaw Zaw Lwin had received a visa to visit Burma from the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, before departing. The reason for his travel was not immediately clear.

Kyaw Zaw Lwin’s 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 monks led thousands of Burmese in protests against the ruling junta in September 2007.

Those protests were brutally suppressed.

Kyaw Zaw Lwin's sister Noe Noe is serving an 11-year prison sentence, while his mother, San San Tin, is serving a five-year sentence.

Other relatives remain in jail for their work to promote democracy in Burma.

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

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