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     Human Rights Watch/Asia
     485 Fifth Avenue
     New York, NY 10017
     Telephone: 212 972 8400 ext.290
     Facsimile: 212 687-9786
     E-mail: joness@xxxxxxx
     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              October 7, 1997
     For further information:
     Zunetta Liddell, London  (44) 171 713 1995; (h) 171-278-4485
     Sidney Jones, New York   (212) 971 8400 ex.290; (h) 718-398-4186
     Human Rights Watch/Asia expressed deep concern today about Burmese 
     political prisoner U Win Tin, sixty-seven years old, who is reported 
     to be seriously ill and perhaps close to death in Rangoon General 
     Hospital. He was apparently transferred there within the past week 
     from Myingyan jail, known to be one of the worst in Burma. Human Right 
     Watch calls on the Burmese authorities to drop all charges against U 
     Tin Win, to ensure that he has access to adequate medical care and the 
     doctors of his choice, and to allow him to return to his home once he 
     has recovered.
     U Win Tin, a journalist, was a founder of the National League for 
     Democracy and was imprisoned in October 1989, accused of being a 
     member of the banned Communist Party of Burma.  He was sentenced to 
     fourteen years by a military tribunal in Rangoon's notorious Insein 
     jail and sometime in early 1996 was transferred to Myingyan, a town 
     about 150 miles north of Rangoon.  The transfer meant that relatives 
     and supporters could no longer visit him or send him food and 
     U Win Tin took a prominent part in a hunger strike in Insein jail 
     in September 1990 and was reported to have been badly beaten.  In 1993 
     and 1994 he was one of four political prisoners to meet with  
     Congressman Bill Richardson.  In photographs taken during the 
     meetings, U Win Tin was seen to be wearing a surgical collar.  He told 
     the congressman he suffered from spondylitis (degeneration of the 
     In mid-1995 U Win Tin was one of a group of eight prisoners 
     accused of sending letters to the United Nations detailing conditions 
     within Insein prison. He was reportedly beaten and kept solitary 
     confinement in the prison's "dog cells" (formerly the kennels for the 
     prison guard dogs). It was later learned that he was sentenced to an 
     additional five years under prison regulations banning the possession 
     of writing materials.  The transcript of this trial, which again took 
     place in Insein jail, was translated and published in full by the 
     exiled All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) in 1997.