Journalist Win Tin Released
International PEN welcomes the release of veteran journalist and pro-democracy activist Win Tin, who was imprisoned for over 19 years and is one of the longest-serving prisoners on PEN’s records. PEN welcomes his amnesty, but reiterates its concern about the number of writers still detained in Myanmar, and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression and association as guaranteed by United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
According to PEN's information, Win Tin, aged 79, was one of 9,002 prisoners reportedly amnestied around the country by the Myanmar military junta, on September 23, 2008, as a "goodwill gesture." It is not known if other political prisoners have been included in this amnesty. Win Tin stated that he would continue to wear his prison uniform and that he will carry on campaigning for democracy in Myanmar. He reportedly in good health despite recent reports of illness.
Win Tin is the former editor-in-chief of Hanthawati, and was Vice President of the Journalist’s and Writer's Association of Burma. He had also been a literary and arts critic and author of various articles critical of the authorities. He is a close confidant of the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Suu Kyi, herself under house arrest for much of the past 20 years, has on many occasions appealed for Win Tin’s release. Win Tin is said to have consistently refused to sign a document disassociating himself from the NLD, which would have secured his release earlier.
Win Tin was arrested in July 1989 and originally sentenced to three years in prison for harboring an “offender for whom a warrant had been issued”—charges that were apparently fabricated. In 1992 he was sentenced to an additional 11 years in prison for a variety of offenses linked to his opposition activities. In March 1996 he was among 21 Insein Prison detainees who were tried for having published a clandestine magazine inside the prison and possessing radio sets. For this he received another seven years, bringing the total sentence to 20 years. He was not due to be freed until July 2009.
Win Tin was awarded UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Award in 2000 and the World Association of Newspaper’s Golden Pen of Freedom Award in 2001.
Write A Letter
- Welcoming the release of journalist and activist Win Tin;
- Demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Myanmar in violation of their right to freedom of expression and association as protected in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Send Your Letter To
Senior General Than Shwe
Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
c/o Ministry of Defense
Union of Myanmar
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Union of Myanmar
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Myanmar in your country if possible.