Prominent leaders of the 88 Generation Students group, who led protests in August, were arrested at a hiding place in Rangoon on Saturday morning, said dissident sources.

The leaders, who were arrested on October 12, were named as Htay Kywe, Mie Mie and Aung Thu. A fourth person, Ko Ko, who helped them hide, was also arrested last night, said the sources.

Another leader of the group, Soe Tun, told The Irrawaddy that he heard news of the arrest today and has been trying several times to contact them. “But I have not been able to reach them,” said Soe Tun from his hiding place.

“We have asked the international community many times to help us and to monitor the detainees’ situation at detention centers. Former student leaders, such as Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi have spent more than 15 years behind bars. At the very least, the International Committee of the Red Cross should be able to visit them immediately,” said Soe Tun.

Thirteen leaders of the 88 Generation Students group were arrested during an overnight operation on August 21, after they had led a march against the junta’s increased fuel prices.

“The health of each of the former student leaders has already deteriorated since their previous prison term. So I would like to request the International Community again—please take real steps to stop the junta’s brutal acts and help the victims,” said Soe Tun.

“The people of Burma have given their lives for democracy and hoped the international community would really help; but nothing has happened yet,” he added.

Bo Kyi, Joint Secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), a human rights group, claimed that the arrested leaders would be tortured at interrogation centers. Htay Kywe’s health is reportedly not good and a concern. He had a stomach operation while he served his 15-year imprisonment.

“These kinds of unjust arrests must be stopped. If not, the Burmese face more suffering,” said Bo Kyi. “Only statements without action from the UN Security Council will not stop the junta’s violent acts on Burmese citizens. We want to see more practical action from the Security Council.”

Htay Kywe was first arrested in 1991 and was incarcerated in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison for 15 years. He was transferred to Tharrawaddy Prison in 1995 and finished his jail term in July 2001. But he was continually detained by authorities under the “Protection of the State from Threat” Act 10 A, which allows the military authorities the right to detain suspects arbitrarily. He was released in October 2004, but had been in hiding since August.

Mie Mie became involved in the movement when she was still a high school student. During the 1996 student demonstrations, she was arrested and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. She spent about one year in Insein Prison and was then transferred to Tharrawaddy Prison in Pegu Division.

Aung Thu was arrested for the first time in March 1988. He was arrested again in 1990 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Meanwhile another activist, Aung Gyi, was arrested during an overnight operation by soldiers on Friday.

From the Irrawaddy News Magazine