Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Burma 10 March 2006

U Win Tin, denied Red Cross visits, to spend 76th birthday in jail

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association called for the unconditional release of Burma’s best-known journalist, U Win Tin, as he prepared to spend his 76th birthday on 12 March in his special cell in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison.

The two press freedom organisations have also appealed for people to sign on www.rsf.org an international petition for his release.

Since his arrest on 4 July 1989, U Win Tin, who is serving a 20-year sentence on charges including “anti-government propaganda”, has been deprived of his basic rights, including proper medical treatment and being able to write.

Since the start of 2006 he has no longer been able to receive visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

According to recent information, U Win Tin currently needs treatment for high blood pressure and inflammation of the prostate. Even though he is checked twice a month by a prison doctor, he is dependent on the help of his relatives who regularly bring him medication and food.

His health has seriously deteriorated after 16 years in prison and he has suffered two heart attacks.

U Win Tin is entitled to a twice-monthly visit from a relative for 20 to 25 minutes. They are allowed to bring him medication, food and magazines, but a censorship bureau within the prison checks all documents brought in to him.

The authorities twice wrongly announced his release, in November 2004 and in July 2005. Under Burmese law he has been eligible for release for good behaviour since July 2005.

Over the past six years, U Win Tin had been receiving regular visits from ICRC representatives, but the Geneva-based organisation no longer visits Burmese prisoners, since the members of the UDSA movement, close to the government, demanded to be present during interviews.

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association pointed out the importance of Red Cross visits to Burmese political prisoners and urged the government to stop obstructing the organisation’s work. Since May 1999, the ICRC has made more than 450 visits to around 80,000 prisoners.

Reporters Without Borders has obtained two previously unpublished photos showing U Win Tin with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, to whom he was a close advisor. The leader of the National League for Democracy has been under house arrest since May 2003 and has spent ten of the past 16 years in detention.

(JPEG) (JPEG)




In this country
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed
28 May - Burma
Junta allows only one-sided coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial
15 May - Burma
Growing restrictions on free flow of information
15 May - Burma
Sakharov Network calls for immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Sakharov Prize laureate 1990
29 January - Burma
Petition launched for release of two Burmese bloggers serving sentences of 20 and 59 years in prison

in the annual report
Burma - Annual report 2008
Burma - Annual report 2007
Burma - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised