Yangon: Military-ruled Myanmar on Thursday
released a US rights activist jailed for fraud and forgery in
a rare show of leniency from the junta ahead of elections this
Democracy advocate Kyaw Zaw Lwin, also known as Nyi
Nyi Aung, was given a three-year prison term in February after
being convicted of forging an identity card, failing to
declare currency at customs and violating immigration law.
"We can confirm that Kyaw Zaw Lwin has been released
from prison and has left the country. We welcome that
development," said Drake Weisert, a spokesman for the US
embassy in Yangon, in an email to agency.
Supporters of the Myanmar-born US citizen said he had
travelled to the country to visit his ailing mother, herself
detained for political activities, when he was arrested on
He had remained behind bars in Yangon's notorious
Insein prison since then, despite an appeal by more than 50 US
lawmakers who wrote to Myanmar's leader, Senior General Than
Shwe, to press for his release in February.
Myanmar officials, asking not to be named, earlier
said authorities were deporting the US man today afternoon but
gave no legal explanation.
The 40-year-old's lawyer Nyan Win, who also represents
detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was initially
unaware of his release after an appeal against the sentence
was rejected, but later said he was glad of the news.
First Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 18:38