9 October 1997


Journalist U Win Tin reported to be seriously ill

Incident details

U Win Tin



(HRW/IFEX) - Burmese political prisoner and journalist U Win Tin,
67, is reported to be seriously ill and perhaps close to death in
Rangoon General Hospital. He was apparently transferred there in
early October 1997 from Myingyan jail, known to be one of the
worst in Burma.

**Updates IFEX alerts dated 17 April and 10 January 1996, and 10
July 1995**

Background Information

U Win Tin was a founder of the National League for Democracy
(NLD) and was arrested in July 1989 and later imprisoned in
October of that year, accused of being a member of the banned
Communist Party of Burma. He was sentenced by a military tribunal
to fourteen years in Rangoon's notorious Insein jail, and
sometime in early 1996 was transferred to Myingyan, a town about
200 kilometres north of Rangoon. The transfer meant that
relatives and supporters could no longer visit him or send him
food and medicines.
U Win Tin took a prominent part in a hunger strike in Insein jail
in September 1990 and was reported to have been badly beaten. In
1993 and 1994, he was one of four political prisoners to meet
with United States of America Congressman Bill Richardson. In
photographs taken during the meetings, U Win Tin was seen to be
wearing a surgical collar. He told the congressman he suffered
from spondylitis (degeneration of the spine). In mid-1995, U Win
Tin was one of a group of eight prisoners accused of sending
letters to the United Nations detailing conditions within Insein
prison. He was reportedly beaten and kept in solitary confinement
in the prison's "dog cells" (formerly the kennels for the prison
guard dogs). It was later learned that he was sentenced to an
additional five years under prison regulations banning the
possession of writing materials. The transcript of this trial,
which again took place in Insein jail, was translated and
published in full by the exiled All Burma Students Democratic
Front (ABSDF) in 1997.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • expressing deep concern about the reported deterioration of the
    health of U Win Tin
  • calling on them to drop all charges against U Tin Win, to ensure
    that he has access to adequate medical care and the doctors of
    his choice, and to allow him to return to his home once he has

    Appeals To

    His Excellency General Than Shwe
    President, SLORC
    c/o Ministry of Defence
    Signal Pagoda Road
    Yangon, Union of Myanmar
    Telex: 2136
    Telegrams: General Than Shwe, Yangon, Myanmar
    Fax: +95 1 22 950

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Human Rights Watch
    350 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY 10118
    United States
    hrwnyc (@) hrw.org

    Fax:+1 212 736 1300

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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