September 23, 2008

Myanmar Journalist Released From Prison

Myanmar journalist U Win Tin was released after 19 years in jail Tuesday as part of an amnesty announced by the country's military junta, advocates said.

Win Tin, 78, the political mentor of Myanmar democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, walked out of Insein Prison near Yangon still dressed in prison clothes, the journalists advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said in a release.

The country's longest-serving political prisoner was let go as part of an amnesty program for 9,000 detainees ahead of elections promised for 2010.

"I am going to continue practicing politics because I am a political man," Reporters Without Borders quoted Win Tin as saying. "I did not sign document 401, which would have forced me to give up that role. Starting today, I am going to continue supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy."

Win Tin was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to 20 years on various charges including anti-government propaganda, the group said. He had been the editor of the daily newspaper Hanthawaddy and was vice president of the Burma Writers Association.