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Release of James Mawdsley.

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Media Release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

17 October 2000

Release of James Mawdsley

The Australian Government welcomes the news that dual British/Australian national, James Mawdsley is to be released immediately from prison in North-Eastern Burma.

We understand that he is to return to the UK later this week to be re-united with his family.

At Mr Mawdsley's request, the British Embassy had assumed full consular responsibility for him on 15 September 1999. The Australian Government, however, has been very concerned about Mr Mawdsley's welfare, especially in recent weeks when there were reports that he had been mistreated in prison.

In recent months the Australian Embassy in Rangoon has made a number of high-level representations to the Burmese Government to convey our concern about Mr Mawdsley's treatment and the judicial processes associated with his detention.

I welcome Mr Mawdsley's release, and am pleased that the Burmese authorities took account of the many representations made on behalf of Mr Mawdsley. However, I remain deeply concerned that there are still many Burmese political prisoners in Burma, including members of legitimate political parties.

Australia strongly believes that the only way to resolve Burma's political problems is through sustained and constructive dialogue, in particular with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


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