U Win Tin says he was 'evicted, not released'

Sep 24, 2008 (DVB), Long-term political prisoner U Win Tin has said he argued with prison authorities against his release, in an interview conducted shortly after he was freed yesterday.

U Win Tin, a veteran journalist and National League for Democracy member, was among 9002 people released yesterday as part of a government amnesty.

He was freed at around 3.45pm after more than 19 years in prison.

U Win Tin said that he was not released from prison but evicted.

"The others were released with restrictions. As for me, I was not allowed to see anyone or speak to anyone and I didn’t know what was happening," U Win Tin said.

"I don’t accept this release. I came out under duress. That’s why I am still wearing prison clothing even though I am outside," he said.

"I told them, 'I will only leave the prison when you drag me out'. This is because I don’t accept the way they have released me. This is not a good sign. Nothing good can come of it."

U Win Tin had previously stated that he did not want to be released for reasons of age of health, according to his friend U Maung Maung Khin.

"U Win Tin said he would only accept being released on political grounds because he was arrested on political grounds, and he wouldn't agree if the government wanted to release him just because he is old," U Maung Maung Khin said earlier this year.

U Win Tin pledged to continue to work for democracy and spoke out against the constitution adopted by the military regime.

"My attitude is, I can’t accept the recent national convention , basically, I can’t accept the constitution," he said.

"Article 6 says the army must take a leading role in national politics. I can’t accept that article, and so I can’t accept the constitution."

Among those released yesterday were Rangoon's Mayangone township MP Dr May Win Myint, Kyauk Tan township MP Dr Than Nyein, Sanchaung township MP U Khin Maung Swe and U Win Htein of the NLD.

Taungngu township MP U Aung Soe Myint was one of 39 people released from Thayet prison, while Thabeikkyeen township NLD organising member U Aye Thin was among the over 70 people released from Sagaing division’s Kalay prison.

At Bago division’s Thayawaddy prison, 160 were released and only one political was among them.

No political prisoners were among the 72 released from Mandalay’s Meikhtila prison or the 80 released from Myitkyina prison in Kachin state.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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