Burmese dissident Min Ko Nain comes for prize to Prague

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Prague Daily Monitor

Prague, Oct 3 (CTK) - Burmese dissident Min Ko Nain, who spent 16 years in solitary confinement under the rule of the military junta in the country, Thursday arrived in Prague where he will receive the human rights prize Homo Homini from the People in Need group.

Min Ko Nain was only released from prison last year, but he has fought for the improvement of the situation in Burma since then.

He told CTK that there was still not democracy in Burma, but its inhabitants have a measure of freedom.

Min Ko Nain was granted the prize in 2000 when he was still imprisoned.

The Burmese military regime imprisoned him for the first time in 1989 when he was involved in student protests against the ruling junta.

He said as a university student he knew what things were unfair. As a result, he tried to reprieve them.

Min Ko Nain, now 50, said his only guilt was that he demanded democracy.

He said he could do absolutely nothing in the tiny prison cell in which he had an absolute ban on contact with the outer world. He could not listen to the radio, watch television or read books.

He said he could only wait for food.

Min Ko Nain said he was only walking in the prison cell, thinking and meditating.

If one is to survive such a long imprisonment, three qualities are needed: to believe oneself and one's work, to have a calm mind and to believe in God and to have a sense of humour.

Min Ko Nain said serious health problems had already afflicted him in the prison that still plagued him.

The prison cells were very wet, Min Ko Nain said.

In 2011, Burmese junta passed power to a civilian government that started democratic reform.

However, democracy still is not in the country, Min Ko Nain said.

There are certain freedoms such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of press, but people still could not freely assemble and protest, he added.

Min Ko Nain said all power was not yet in the hands of citizens, but it was still held by the past regime that only changed into civilian clothes.

Min Ko Nain said he highly esteemed the Homo Homini prize.

He said when he was for the eleventh year in the prison, it tremendously encouraged him.

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