Echoing National League for Democracy (NLD) stalwart Win Tin, who said, “Yes, we have found a light in the tunnel, but we are still in the dark” last week, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) spokesman Sai Lake hailed this morning’s release his leader Hkun Tun Oo and 5 other colleagues as “a light in the dark”.
Out of 651 released by amnesty order issued yesterday, apart from Hkun Tun Oo, are Sai Nyunt Lwin aka Sai Nood, Secretary; Sai Hla Aung, CEC member; U Tun Nyo, Sai Myo Win Tun and Sai Nyi Nyi Moe. All of them were serving 79-93 years for treason, defamation association with outlawed organizations and other charges.
“Their release is only the first step,” he said. “We still need to work hard to return to the political arena as soon as possible.”
Hkun Tun Oo, 68, who was picked up by his wife and SNLD members this morning at Toungoo, 175 miles north of Rangoon, is said to be in high spirits though in poor physical health.
He is a scion of the Hsipaw princely house and nephew to Sao Kya Seng, former ruling prince of Hsipaw, who mysteriously disappeared under military detention following the 1962 coup. (The prince has been immortalized by “Twilight over Burma,” memoirs of his widow Inge Sargent.)
Hkun Tun Oo co-founded the SNLD that won 2nd place nationwide and 1st place state wide in the 1990 elections. His presentations at the National Convention (1993-2007) to lay down basic principles for the constitution, though rejected by the ruling military junta, had been welcomed by the opposition camp.
His political return would be a great boost to the continued struggle for peace and equality in Burma, according to an SNLD member on the Thai-Burma border.