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Former Burmese minister dies in prison

Nov 5, 2009 (DVB), Burma's foreign minister Win Aung died yesterday in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison where he had been sentenced following the fall of former premier Khin Nyunt in 2004.

Ex-army colonel Win Aung, 65, died of natural early on Wednesday morning, a source close to the prison said.

"I saw a hearse from Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) driving into Insein prison this morning and it brought U Win Aung's dead body with security guards," an eye witness told DVB.

Win Aung had been a favourite of former prime minister General Khin Nyunt, who was ousted in 2004.

Despite being head of the Burmese army, Khin Nyunt was seen as a more moderate leader than his predecessors.

He had previously served as ambassador to Germany and the United Kingdom before he took his post as Burma's foreign minister. Known as a media-friendly person, he had written regularly for state press in Burma.

As ambassador he often bore the brunt abroad for human rights abuses carried out by the Burmese government

Following the purge of Khin Nyunt, the then prime minister and powerful head of military intelligence, Win Aung was said to have been arrested and detained in Insein prison.

The government however announced the retirement of Win Aung and his deputy, Khin Maung Win, after serving the foreign ministry for about six years. He was the only former government minister to have served a prison sentence.

Reporting by DVB

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