November 20, 2008

His Excellency U Myint Lwin
Chargé d’Affaires
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar to the United States
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 express our concern regarding the six-year sentence handed down to leading musician Win Maw.

According to our information, on November 11, 2008, the Mingalar Taungnyunt Township Court sentenced Win Maw to six years in prison for “sending false news abroad” after providing the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma radio station with news reports and video footage from the demonstrations in August and September 2007. Win Maw was arrested on November 27, 2007 in a Rangoon teashop and charged under article 5 (j) of the penal code with “threatening national security.” He was held in Insein prison and transferred to Mandalay following this year’s trial. Win Maw was a lead guitarist in the music group Shwe Thansin and was previously imprisoned from 1997 to 2003 for writing songs in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. 

PEN American Center believes the prison sentence imposed on Win Maw 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 in Myanmar for the peaceful expression of their views.  

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula                  
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Program

CC: His Excellency U Kyaw Tint Swe
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 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) 744-1290

>> Back to Rapid Action