Than Zaw

* 1963  

  • My name is Than Zaw and I am using Thant Zaw Thanlyin as my pen name for my writings. My father is U Myint Sein and my mother is Daw Sein Sein. I was born at 7:30 am on 8 March 1963. During the uprising, I participated at four sided strike. It was central strike of four towns namely Thanlyin, Kyauk Tan, Kha Yan and Thone Gwa and I was being a part of that demonstration. Later, I established an association and named it myself as Myanmar Human Rights Movements Association. We held the meetings with university students and formed the committees. I was nominated as chairman. Then, I worked as chirman and printed a lot of papers under the title of Myanmar Human Rights Movements Association. I had a paper mill and I couldn’t sell the paper during uprising. Therefore, I took them all and printed using wax rolls. Although people called as wax roll, it wasn’t wax. There was a monastery named Mingalar Kan Oo monastery in Bo Gyoke village of Thanlyin Township. A monk from that monastery liked me and allowed me typing at his monastery using typewritter. I couldn’t type professionally and sometimes I used to type with one hand only. I produced thousands of pamphlets explaining something about human rights and unity, etc and spread them as propaganda. A month later, there was military coup on 18th and we stayed silent as we were unbalance in capacity. Later, they came to the house where I opened/ran Myanmar Human Rights Associations and tore down all the papers. They also destroyed the ward boards but didn’t destroy the house.

Even though innocent, convicted death sentence

A piece of of government's Newspaper which was expressed about Than Zaw and his co-defendants were sentenced to death penalty.
A piece of of government's Newspaper which was expressed about Than Zaw and his co-defendants were sentenced to death penalty.
photo: Than Zaw

Than Zaw, a former youth member of the National League for Democracy, was imprisoned in 1989 for his alleged role in bombing the Thanlyin Oil Refinery. Than Zaw was born in South Oakkalapa Township, Rangoon and later on, he moved to Thanlyin Township. He was a former youth member of the National League for Democracy and took part earnestly in people power uprising known as 88 uprising. Than Zaw, who was imprisoned in 1989 to 2012 for his alleged role in bombing the Thanlyin Oil Refinery. Although the actual bomber, a Karen National Union major named Ko Ko Naing, confessed to the crime and was released in 2005, Than Zaw continued to languish in prison. Despite his innocence, he was first sentenced to death, later commuted in appeal to life in prison. His parent died while he was imprisoned and his family was not able to prison visit regularly, therefore he faced difficulties. Having release, he connected with one of former political prisoners and worked as an editor of a journal. Then, he joined the FHI 360 fellowship for former political prisoners. He selected the program and has been working for Mizzima Media group since July, 2017.