Permission to Speak: Political Prisoners in Burma

As Burma transitions from dictatorship to democracy, hundreds of political prisoners have been freed after decades behind bars. On this edition, we hear from some of these freed political prisoners as they struggle to rebuild their lives, and test the emerging democracy. They suffer from severe PTSD, their friends and family are scared to speak with them, fearing they too will be arrested, and many are shunned by a public that still lives in fear the long arm of the military dictatorship. Some freed political prisoners are denied access to university, denied passports and denied professional licenses. Still, many of the freed political prisoners continue to test the limits of the emerging democracy, and face profound consequences.

This production is part of the Global Story Project, with support from the Open Society Foundations. Presented by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.


T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA International Advocacy director; Kyaw Kyaw Soe (AKA Talky), Ko Bo Kyi, Saw Htet Oo, Ma Hta Hta Thet and Ko Win Maw former political prisoners; Pui Pui and Bo Bo, political activists.