13 January 2012, RAN 03/12
The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release of leading musician Win Maw and prominent blogger Nay Phone Latt , who are among 651 prisoners to be freed as part of a presidential amnesty announced on 13 January 2012. News is still emerging, and full details of all those included in the amnesty have yet to be confirmed. PEN hopes that all those who remain detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, protecting the right to freedom of expression, will soon be freed.
According to PEN’s information, popular Burmese musician Win Maw was arrested on 27 November 2007 and sentenced to seven years in prison under article 5 (j) of the penal code with threatening national security for his song writing and reporting on the crackdown in Burma which began in early September 2007 following demonstrations led by monks and pro-democracy activists. He was beaten and tortured during the early years of his detention. In 2009 he was sentenced to a further ten years in prison. Win Maw is lead guitarist in the music group Shwe Thansin, which was one of the top bands in Burma in the 1990’s. He was previously imprisoned from 1997-2003 for writing songs in support of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).
Prominet blogger and poet Nay Phone Latt was arrested on 29 January 2008 and sentenced to twenty years and six months in prison, reduced on appeal to twelve years, for critical writings published in his blog (http://www.nayphonelatt.net/). He has continued to write poems in prison, and is an honorary member of American PEN.
PEN’s WiPC thanks all those who have supported Win Maw and Nay Phone Latt during their imprisonment and maintained international pressure on their case, which undoubtedly contributed to their release.
For further details on today’s amnesty see the Burmese news website Mizzima
For more information and writings by Win Maw, including three new songs smuggled out of prison in February 2011, see Freemuse.
For more information and writings by Nay Phone Latt published by PEN America click here .
Send your appeals:
Welcoming the release of leading musician Win Maw and blogger Nay Phone Latt, and urging that all restrictions against them are lifted;
Demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, protecting the right to freedom of expression.
Senior General Thein Sein,
Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
c/o Ministry of Defence, Naypyitaw, Union of Myanmar
Salutation: Dear General
WiPC strongly recommends that you copy your appeal to the Burmese embassy in your country asking them to forward it to the Burmese authorities and welcoming any comments.
For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: firstname.lastname@example.org