U Win Tin – Burma

U Win Tin (born March 12, 1929) is being held prisoner in Burma / Myanmar because of his senior position in the National League for Democracy (NLD) and for his writings. Arrested in July 1989, he has spent the last 17 years in prison. U Win Tin is serving a 20-year sentence on charges including “anti-government propaganda.”

One of the reasons for his detention is his attempt to inform the United Nations of ongoing human rights violations in Burmese prisons. At 76 years of age, he is in a poor state of health, exacerbated by his treatment in prison, which has included torture, inadequate access to medical treatment, being held in a cell designed for military dogs, without bedding, and being deprived of food and water for long periods of time … (full text wikipedia, last modified 3 January 2007).

He writes: “As long as the black stripes on the yellow background are vividly painted, the tiger is still a tiger” … (full text).

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U Win Tin – Burma

Read: One photographer killed and six journalists in jail: Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the poor state of press freedom, Sept. 25, 2007.

Recently, on August 18, 2007, a public meeting was held in New Delhi under the aegis of the Convention for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma to reiterate solidarity with the struggle for democracy in Burma and demand the immediate release of veteran Burmese journalist, U Win Tin … (full text, Sept. 26, 2007).

Read: TIMELINE – 45 years of resistance and repression in Myanmar, Sept. 27, 2007.

U Win Tin, a journalist, was for years editor-in-chief of a Mandalay-based newspaper called Hanthawaddy, until it was shut down by General Ne Win for running too many articles critical of his regime. In 1988 he established, briefly, the Burmese Writers’ Association; from the beginning he was a leading figure in the National League for Democracy, and an important adviser to Suu Kyi. For these crimes, and ostensibly for harbouring a girl who had had an illegal abortion, he was sentenced to 20 years; he has now been imprisoned for 18, since 1989.

He too has gone to great lengths to keep writing, making ink out of brick powder from the walls of his cell, writing with a pen made from a bamboo mat; now 77 years old, he has, according to PEN, had two heart attacks, lost most of his teeth, and is suffering from diabetes, spondylitis, and a hernia. (Guardian, Oct. 12, 2007).

Read: South Block’s Indifference to Burma’s Struggle for Democracy, Oct. 5, 2007.

HCMC has a special connection with Burmese journalists. In 2005, HCMC made Burmese journalist U Win Tin an honorary member of HCMC. U Win Tin, former editor of the Hanthawaddy News, has been held by Burma’s military rulers as a political prisoner for 18 years. HCMC has joined the international campaign for his release. Last year, HCMC president, Chris Conybeare was asked to address the Burma Media Association’s (BMA) annual meeting. BMA is an organization of Burmese journalists, writers and media workers, many living in exile, dedicated to media freedom in Burma … (full text, Oct. 3, 2007).

Read: U Win Tin, denied Red Cross visits, to spend 76th birthday in jail.

UNESCO Calls for Release of Journalist U Win Tin from Jail, 21-05-2002: In a letter to the Prime Minister of Myanmar (Burma), Senior General Than Shwe, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura on Friday called for the release of 72-year-old journalist U Win Tin, laureate of the 2001 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, who has been in jail since July 1989.

Read: News blackout accompanies military crackdown on protests, Sept. 27, 2007).

Read: Mizoram Bishop urges India to act on Myanmar, Oct. 4, 2007.

Read: 2006 Laureate in the “Journalist” category: U Win Tin – Burma, 13. Dec. 2006.

links:

Myanmar: Time for justice as human rights defender spends 75th birthday in prison, March 11, 2005;

UN special envoy asked to intervene on behalf of Win Tin, Aug 18, 2005;
IFEX, March 10, 2006;

The golden PEN of freedom, 2004;

UNESCO, 2001.

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