The United Nations independent expert Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (Burma) has appealed to the Army rulers to release the distinguished poet and journalist U Win Tin who is the country’s longest serving political prisoner, having been jailed for nearly 18 years and all other political prisoners.

Since he was originally imprisoned in 1989, U Win Tin has been sentenced three times, each time while behind bars. Currently, he is serving a seven year sentence following a letter he wrote to the UN about the ill treatment and poor conditions of political prisoners.

Since he was originally imprisoned in 1989, U Win Tin has been sentenced three times, each time while behind bars. Currently, he is serving a seven year sentence following a letter he wrote to the UN about the ill treatment and poor conditions of political prisoners.

“The path to which the Government has committed itself is one in which there is no place for political prisoners,” the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro said in a statement

“Rather, processes of national reconciliation and democratic transition are invariably facilitated by the release of all political prisoners.”

U Win Tin, who earlier this month spent his 77th birthday in a prison cell in Yangon, is a Laureate of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Press Freedom Award, among other international accolades.

He is a “human rights defender and democracy advocate whose commitment to the cause of democracy, freedom of speech and human rights have earned him the support and respect of people around the world striving to promote and protect these values,” Mr. Pinheiro said.

Since he was originally imprisoned in 1989, U Win Tin has been sentenced three times, each time while behind bars. Currently, he is serving a seven year sentence following a letter he wrote to the UN about the ill treatment and poor conditions of political prisoners.

There are over 1,200 political prisoners in Myanmar, several of whom are now elderly or in poor health and in urgent need of medical attention, according to the statement. U Win Tin, who has been held for extended periods of time in solitary confinement, is one of many detainees whose state of health has deteriorated partly due to detention conditions and who should be freed on humanitarian grounds alone.