Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Shine A Light

This is Win Tin. He is 74 years old. He is a journalist in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Or was, before he was arrested.

Win Tin is being held in Rangoon's Insein prison, serving three consecutive sentences totaling 20 years. He sheltered a young woman who had had an abortion and was sentenced to three years for "harbouring a delinquent sought by police". His second conviction was for "making seditious statements, organizing subversive movements and writing pamphlets calling for treason against the state" and a third conviction was for "secretly publishing anti-government propaganda to provoke prison riots." Win Tin's trials were below acceptable international standards. In his third trial, he was not given the rights to a lawyer. At one point during his imprisonment, Win Tin was forced to spend six months in a cage in the prison's dog kennels as punishment for secretly communicating with a UN human rights official and for publishing an underground magazine. Win Tin has a variety of serious health concerns and has suffered two heart attacks while imprisoned. He is a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and is a friend and mentor of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San SuuKyi. Win Tin has been offered freedom in exchange for a resignation from the NLD, but has remained true to his convictions and refused. Family members are only able to visit him every two weeks. Win Tin is not allowed to write in prison, and the only permitted reading material are pro-government newspapers.

In solidarity with Reporters Without Borders and on Jailed Journalists Support Day, please sign this online petition for Win Tin's release.

Thank you.

(Now playing: "Burying Ground", Mike O'Neill)


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