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Veteran Myanmar journalist and activist Win Tin dies at 85

Published on Apr 21, 2014 12:07 PM
In a file picture taken on September 23, 2008, Win Tin, the longest-serving political prisoner in the military-ruled nation, talks with friends and some journalists after his release from Insein Prison in Myanmar's biggest city Yangon. The co-founder of Myanmar's pro-democracy opposition and the nation's longest-serving political prisoner died on April 21, 2014, his party said, after battling for decades to bring freedom to the formerly junta-run country. FILE PHOTO: AFP

Mr Win Tin, 85, a hugely respected former journalist, who wrote poems on the wall of his prison cell as he endured incarceration for almost two decades, died in Yangon on Monday morning after suffering kidney failure last week.

"Uncle" Win Tin as he was known, was also a co-founder of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), and spent more than 19 years in prison - roughly the same amount of time as NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

During those years, he was at one stage kept in a cell designed as a dog kennel. He was made to sit outdoors all night in chains on cold Yangon winter nights, and he was hooded and beaten.

"It was hell," he told journalists when he was released in 2008 - but he kept his blue prison shirt even after his release and wore it sometimes as a gesture of defiance.

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