Journalists, writers and poets in Burma's gulag
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Journalists, writers and poets in Burma's gulag


By Committee to Protect Journalists, Burma; Information Group, The Nation, Radio Free Asia MAY, 1998 - VOLUME 6 NO.3


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U Win Tin--Imprisoned: July 4, 1989

U Win Tin, former editor of two daily newspapers and vice-chair of Burma’s Writers Association, was arrested and sentenced to three years’ hard labor—a sentence that was subsequently extended. U Win Tin was active in establishing independent publications during the 1988 student democracy movement, and he also worked closely with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Authorities extended U Win Tin’s sentence by five more years o­n March 28, 1996, after they convicted him of smuggling letters describing conditions at Insein prison to Professor Yozo Yokota, the former U.N. Special Rapporteur for human rights in Burma.


In an October alert, Human Rights Watch cited reports that U Win Tin was seriously ill and perhaps close to death in Rangoon General Hospital.


Ma Myat Mo Mo Tun--Imprisoned: 1994


The daughter of imprisoned dissident Daw San San Nwe, Ma Myat Mo Mo Tun, was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading information injurious to the state. She is alleged to have recorded “defamatory letters and documents,” made contact with “illegal” groups and sent anti-government articles to a journal published by an expatriate group.


U Myo Myint Nyein, U Sein Hlaing--Imprisoned: September 1990


U Myo Myint Nyein and U Sein Hlaing were arrested for contributing to the preparation, planning, and publication of the satirical news magazine What’s Happening, which the government claims is anti-government propaganda. They were sentenced to seven years in prison. o­n March 28, 1996, they were among 21 prisoners tried inside Insein Prison, and given an additional seven years sentence under the Emergency Provisions Act for smuggling letters describing prison conditions to Professor Yozo Yokota, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for human rights in Burma.


U Maung Maung Lay Ngwe--Imprisoned: September 1990


U Maung Maung Lay Ngwe was arrested and charged with writing and distributing publications that “make people lose respect for the government.” The publications were titled, collectively, Pe-Tin-Tan.


Daw San San Nwe, U Sein Hla Oo--Imprisoned: August 5, 1994


Daw San San Nwe and journalist U Sein Hla Oo were arrested o­n charges of spreading information damaging to the state and contacting anti-government groups. San San Nwe and Sein Hla Oo were sentenced o­n October 6, 1994 to 10 years and seven years in prison, respectively. Three other dissidents, including a former UNICEF worker, were sentenced to between 7 and 15 years in prison o­n similar charges. Officials said the five had “fabricated and sent anti-government reports to some diplomats in foreign embassies, foreign radio stations, and visiting foreign journalists.” San San Nwe allegedly met two French reporters visiting Burma in April 1993 and appeared in a video they produced to spread propaganda about the government.


According to reports citing Burmese officials, authorities seized confidential Energy Ministry data, as well as documents and compact discs containing anti-government materials from o­ne of the dissidents. Both U Sein Hla Oo and Daw San San Nwe were previously imprisoned for their involvement in the NLD. As of December 1994, all five were being held at the Insein Prison in Rangoon.



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