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Burma 4 May 2005

European Parliament calls for release of U Win Tin

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association welcomed the 28 April decision of the European Parliament to adopt the EU Report on Human Rights in the World 2004 that includes a call for the release of renowned Burmese journalist U Win Tin.

The European assembly, in response to repeated appeals from Reporters Without Borders, linked the call for the release of the journalist to that of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Both organisations also urged European bodies to step up pressure on the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for Burma to be denied the presidency of the organisation in 2006 unless all political prisoners are released and previous censorship abolished.

Article 57 of the report specifies that the European Parliament "calls on the government of Burma, as a first step to establishing a state based on the will of the people, to stop suppressing legitimate and democratic political activities; urges the government to release immediately Aung San Suu Kyi, a former Sakharov Prize winner, and 75-year-old journalist Win Tin, adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi."

Burma’s best known journalist spent his 75th birthday on12 March 2005 in his cell at Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison. Since his arrest, Win Tin has been deprived of his basic rights, including that of receiving appropriate medical treatment and being able to write.

Despite recent pronouncements, the military junta has taken no steps towards freeing this respected intellectual, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for making "anti-government propaganda".

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