November 13, 2008

His Excellency U Myint Lwin
Chargé d’Affaires
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar to the U.S.
2300 S St. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 332-4351

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to protest the two-year sentence imposed on leading poet Saw Wai.

According to our information, on November 10, 2008 it was reported that Saw Wai had been sentenced to two years in prison for the love poem entitled “February the Fourteenth,” which cryptically criticized General Than Shwe. He was arrested on January 22, 2008 after it was published in the Rangoon-based weekly magazine Love Journal.

PEN American Center believes the prison sentence handed down to Saw Wai to be in direct violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore renew our call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all others currently detained and restricted in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula     
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC:  His Excellency U Kyaw Tint Swe
Ambassador to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations
10 East 77th Street
New York, NY 10021
Fax: (212) 737-242

>> Back to Rapid Action