Many ethnic politicians and family members of Sai Nyunt Lwin, General Secretary of defunct Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), wished immediate release for him on his 60th birthday that fell yesterday (3 July) by the military junta, according to sources.
His birthday ceremony was held at his home at 9th mile, Rangoon from 11:00 to 12:00. It was participated by his colleagues from different nationalities like U Htaung Ko Htan, U Aye Tha Aung, leading member of Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), Nai Ngwe Thein, Mon National League for Democracy (MNLD), Pu Cin Xin Thang, Chairman of Zomi National Congress (his son and nephew are in jail) and U Nyan Win from National League for Democracy (NLD) including Dr May Win Myint of Women's Organization.
“We feel unhappy for joining a birthday ceremony without the owner of the birthday. Anyhow, we wish him to be granted immediate release so he may have a chance to celebrate his birthday with his beloved family and friends,” U Aye Tha Aung said, “He [Sai Nyunt Lwin] is one of ethnic leaders who have been hardly struggling for democracy and equality since 1980. He is one of the few people worthy of admiration.”
His better half Nang Khin Own Tint said, “We wish him to be with us at his birthday ceremony. We really hope him to join us for his next birthday. We therefore would like to request President Thein Sein take into consideration so that he and the rest of political prisoners are released as soon as possible.”
The family also freed 61 birds to mark his birthday and Shan youths recited some of his lectures and articles written by him, a source said.
In 1974-75, he contested in the article writing contest organized by Rangoon Arts and Science University and won the first prize. In 1978, he won the second prize of Sar Pay Bake Marn’s Youth Literature with the article entitled “A Hman Lan Ko Shout Ke Par” (Walk through the right path), first prize again in 1980 with the article “Da Din Ga Lay Myar Swar” (Many Moments) and third prize in 1985 with the title called “KyoTin Kar Kwae Mee Arn Da Rae” (Be alert to prevent the dangers of fire).
Besides being a writer, he was also working hard in political affairs since 1988. He was also a secretariat member of United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) comprised of 11 different ethnic political parties.
In 2005, he and his Chairman Khun Htun Oo and together with 6 others Shan leaders were imprisoned by the junta authorities on charges of defamation of the state, association with illegal parties and conspiracy against the state. They were separately imprisoned at the following locations:
Maj-Gen Hso Ten 106 years reduced to 105 years Sittwe prison, Arakan State
Hkun Tun Oo 93 years 92 years Putao, Kachin State
Sai Nyunt Lwin 85 years 84 years Kalay, Sagaing division
Sai Hla Aung 79 years 78 years Kyaukphyu prison
U Tun Nyo 79 years 78 years Buthidaung prison
U Nyi Nyi Moe 79 years 78 years Pakokku prison
Sai Myo Win Tun 79 years 78 years Myingyan prison
U Myint Than 79 years 78 years Sandoway prison (died 2006)
According to SNLD spokesperson Sai Leik, almost all the said leaders are undergoing health problems each, but mentally are still strong except for Sai Myo Win Htun. Sai Nyunt Lwin is using dentures after losing all of his teeth. He and Sai Nyi Nyi Moe are also suffering from hemorrhoids.