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Burma 7 June 2002

Reprisals against imprisoned photographer Sunny after he goes on hunger strike

"It is now becoming a matter of urgency for the military junta to proceed to the massive and unconditional release of the hundreds of political prisoners, and notably the sixteen journalists, who are languishing in prison. This would be a significant gesture towards the international community," affirmed Robert Ménard, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders in a letter to Colonel Tin Hlaing, Home Affairs Minister and member of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association (BMA, an organisation of Burmese journalists in exile) have condemned the reprisals against the photographer Sunny (Khin Maung Win) and at least 25 other political prisoners who had started a hunger strike. Reporters Without Borders and the BMA call for the release of Sunny and the fifteen other media professionals imprisoned in Burma.

According to information obtained by Reporters Without Borders and the BMA, the photographer and cameraman Khin Maung Win, better known under the name of Sunny, was transferred on 21 May 2002 to an undisclosed destination by authorities of Kalay prison (north-west of the country). Some sources said the prisoners were transferred to Kathar prison. Their jailers had found Sunny and Khun Myint Tun, an elected MP of the National League for Democracy (NLD), guilty of having started a hunger strike in support of their demands for the release of all Burmese political prisoners. A protest movement had in fact started on 16 May in this prison, where Sunny has been held for more than three years. Prisoners at the detention centre in Kalay had already gone on hunger strike early in March 2002 in support of their demands for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Sunny’s family and friends have had no news of him since his transfer.

Sunny was arrested on 13 June 1997 along with four other NLD activists. He was sentenced in August 1997 to seven years imprisonment for his part in making a video of an interview with Aung San Suu Kyi and smuggling it out of the country.

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