Ma Khin Khin Leh was released from prison on Saturday, February 21. Her release follows an announcement by the Myanmar government that it would release 24 political prisoners. Ma Khin Khin Leh’s case was a focus of the AIUSA Global Write-a-thon last December. Over 7,000 AIUSA members wrote letters to the Burmese government on her behalf. In addition, AIUSA Group 48 has been collecting signatures to petition for Ma Khin Khin Leh’s release. Volunteers collected over 600 signatures at local concerts in Portland. The letters and petitions truly make a difference for the lives of individuals around the world.
A school teacher and young mother, Ma Khin Khin Leh, was serving a life sentence because her husband Kyaw Wunna tried to organize a peaceful demonstration in support of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Days before the demonstration was to take place, authorities moved to prevent it. The authorities could not find Kyaw Wunna so security agents arrested Ma Khin Khin Leh and the couple’s three-year-old daughter. Although her daughter was released after spending five days in detention, Ma Khin Khin Leh was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999 under vaguely-worded security legislation.