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Pro-Democracy Activist Returns to US from Captivity in Burma

A naturalized American citizen has returned to the United States after being held by the Burmese government since September.

Burmese-American Kyaw Zaw Lwin arrived Friday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, where he was re-united with his family.

The pro-democracy campaigner, who is also known as Nyi Nyi Aung, told reporters upon his arrival that he is thankful to all the organizations, individuals and the U.S. government for their efforts in winning his freedom. He emphasized that his personal freedom is not as important as the current situation in Burma, which he said "is pretty.

Burma's official New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Friday that the government pardoned and deported Nyi Nyi Aung after giving "special consideration to bilateral friendship" after the U.S. State Department requested his release.

Last month, a Burmese court sentenced the activist to three years in prison for violating immigration laws, possessing a fake national identity card and carrying undeclared foreign currency.

Nyi Nyi Aung says he has been visiting the country to see his ailing mother, who is being held in jail for her political activities.

Nyi Nyi Aung was one of the organizers of Burma's 1988 pro-democracy uprising against the military government. He became an American citizen after fleeing to the United States.

According to United Nations estimates, there are more than 2,100 political prisoners being held by the Burmese government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.