Press Releases
A former political prisoner was arrested for protesting alone in front of the United Nations office in Rangoon

Date: September 23, 2004

U Ohn Than, a former political prisoner age 58, demonstrated alone at half past three in the afternoon on September 21 in front of the office of the United Nations Development Program in Rangoon. He was holding a poster demanding a call for a free and fair parliament under the direct supervision of the UN and to form a UN commission to investigate the Depayin Massacre.

Four days before his lone demonstration, U Ohn Than distributed his statement in Rangoon. The statement to call for a free and fair parliament was four pages long and written in both Burmese and English. During his demonstration, three people, who seemed to be undercover agents, arrived and took him. Up to now, his whereabouts are unknown. September 21st was the first day of the General Assembly of the United Nations and Burmese activists abroad demonstrated in many other countries as well.

Relating to U Ohn Than’s lone demonstration, Tate Naing, the secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) said “Prior to U Ohn Than’s arrest, Dr. Salai Tun Than, Ko Thet Naung Soe, Ko Khin Maung Win, Ko Mya San Htoo and others were arrested and put in prison for prolonged imprisonments because of their solo peaceful demonstrations. Including U Ohn Than, they were arrested and imprisoned because they peacefully spoke out about their beliefs and wishes for freedom and democracy. That surely shows that the military regime is unfair and they cannot recognize democracy.”

U Ohn Than was imprisoned twice. The first time was in 1988 and the second was in 1997. He was released from Tharawaddy prison in 2003.

To know more details, please contact:

Tate Naing: (66) 1 287 8751
Bo Kyi: (66) 1 324 8935


Brief Biography of U Ohn Than

1946: Born in Ngathinechaung Tsp. Irrawaddy Division. His father was U Tha Nu.
1971: Graduated from Rangoon University with B.Sc (Forestry) degree
1971/88: Served as a Deputy Manager under the State Timber
Corporation (STC)
1988: Led the public uprising of Shwegoo Tsp. Kachin State in the 8.8.88 pro-democracy uprising
1988: Sentenced to 8 years in prison under the Emergency Provision Act, Section 5 (J). After one and a half years in Bamaw prison, transferred to Mandalay prison
1995: Released from Mandalay prison
1996: Arrested a second time by the MI and imprisoned again for 7 years under the Emergency Provision Act, Section 5 (J) for delivering a pamphlet, named “A Call for the Fight for Burma’s Human Rights”
2003: Released from Tharawaddy prison in October U Ohn Than’s wife had passed away four months prior to his arrest. A 28- year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter are still living in the family home on Aung Zayya Street, 44 Quarter, North Dagon Tsp. Rangoon.